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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ The landed nobility provided tsarism with a perilously narrow social base.
▪ For the landed nobility, the impact of Emancipation was deeply disturbing.
▪ The landed nobility showed no inclination to build bridges with urban property-owners, let alone workers and peasants.
▪ Elections to the zemstvos, too, demonstrated the intense hostility of the peasantry towards the landed nobility.
▪ It was, by its very nature, committed first and foremost to the interests of the landed nobility.
▪ All the efforts of the Ministry of Education could not produce a sufficient flow of educated recruits from the landed nobility.
▪ The main burden borne by the peasantry remained that of the State and the landed nobility.
landed gentry/family/nobility
▪ But it certainly suited the dominant landed gentry to interpret him in that way.
▪ For the landed nobility, the impact of Emancipation was deeply disturbing.
▪ It was built originally by one of the old wool merchants, who wanted to establish his family as landed gentry.
▪ Redmond is Harry Trench, a new doctor and youngest son of landed gentry with a small investment income.
▪ The landed gentry planted for their grandchildren avenues of hardwood that they themselves would never see.
▪ The landed nobility provided tsarism with a perilously narrow social base.
▪ The King appointed them to high offices of state, which the aristocracy and landed gentry considered to be their prerogative.
▪ The main burden borne by the peasantry remained that of the State and the landed nobility.
▪ Most of the pictures celebrate the nobility of working with one's hands.
▪ A growing proportion of the nobility lost their ties with the land altogether.
▪ But the fundamental explanation for the absence of political confrontation between Crown and nobility remained the community of interest between them.
▪ It also explains why the Tsar was able to secure the acquiescence of the nobility.
▪ Le Philosophe sans le savoir is also a satire on the pride and depravity of the nobility.
▪ The 22.8 million serfs privately owned by members of the nobility were emancipated.
▪ The families of the nobility have always fascinated the visiting public more than their historic homes and works of art.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Nobility \No*bil"i*ty\, n. [L. nobilitas: cf. OF. nobilit['e]. See Noble.]

  1. The quality or state of being noble; superiority of mind or of character; commanding excellence; eminence.

    Though she hated Amphialus, yet the nobility of her courage prevailed over it.
    --Sir P. Sidney.

    They thought it great their sovereign to control, And named their pride nobility of soul.

  2. The state of being of high rank or noble birth; patrician dignity; antiquity of family; distinction by rank, station, or title, whether inherited or conferred.

    I fell on the same argument of preferring virtue to nobility of blood and titles, in the story of Sigismunda.

  3. Those who are noble; the collective body of nobles or titled persons in a state; the aristocratic and patrician class; the peerage; as, the English nobility.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

mid-14c., "quality of being excellent or rare," from Old French nobilite "high rank; dignity, grace; great deed" (12c., Modern French nobilité), and directly from Latin nobilitatem (nominative nobilitas) "celebrity, fame; high birth; excellence, superiority; the nobles," from nobilis "well-known, prominent" (see noble (adj.)). Meaning "quality of being of noble rank or birth" is attested from late 14c.; sense of "noble class collectively" is from 1520s.


n. 1 A noble or privileged social class, historically accompanied by a hereditary title; aristocracy. 2 (context uncountable English) The quality of being noble.

  1. n. a privileged class holding hereditary titles [syn: aristocracy]

  2. the quality of being exalted in character or ideals or conduct [syn: magnanimousness, grandeur]

  3. the state of being of noble birth [syn: noblesse]


Nobility is a social class, normally ranked immediately under royalty, that possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than most other classes in a society, membership thereof typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be largely honorary (e.g., precedence), and vary from country to country and era to era. Historically, membership in the nobility and the prerogatives thereof have been regulated or acknowledged by the monarch or government, thereby distinguishing it from other sectors of a nation's upper class wherein wealth, lifestyle or affiliation may be the salient markers of membership. Nonetheless, nobility per se has rarely constituted a closed caste; acquisition of sufficient power, wealth, military prowess or royal favour has, with varying frequency, enabled commoners to ascend into the nobility.

There is often a variety of ranks within the noble class. Legal recognition of nobility has been more common in monarchies, but nobility also existed in such regimes as the Dutch Republic (1581–1795), the Republic of Genoa (1005–1815) and the Republic of Venice (697–1797), and remains part of the legal social structure of some non-hereditary regimes, e.g., San Marino and the Vatican City in Europe. Hereditary titles often distinguish nobles from non-nobles, although in many nations most of the nobility have been un-titled, and a hereditary title need not ipso facto indicate nobility (e.g., baronet). Some countries have had non-hereditary nobility, such as the Empire of Brazil.

Usage examples of "nobility".

At her house I made the acquaintance of several gamblers, and of three or four frauleins who, without any dread of the Commissaries of Chastity, were devoted to the worship of Venus, and were so kindly disposed that they were not afraid of lowering their nobility by accepting some reward for their kindness--a circumstance which proved to me that the Commissaries were in the habit of troubling only the girls who did not frequent good houses.

It was no wonder that he rose to such a height, as in Russia the nobility never lower themselves by accepting church dignities.

The rise of the cities, the aggrandizement of the princes, and the change to a commercial from a feudal society all worked to the disadvantage of the smaller nobility and gentry.

If you object to my terminology as exalting too much the common man, as putting sacred things to profane use, as demeaning prophecy and nobility and poesy, I shall answer that it is because of the narrowing definitions of convention that only the makers of verses, and not all of those, are poets, that only men of certain birth or ancestry or favor are dukes, and that prophets have entirely disappeared.

But with what a lordly freedom from all obligation does citizen Anet, representative of this nobility of sex, accept the allegiance!

As for the Nobility, they had been as preoccupied with a violent and ghastly spectacle of a different character: down in Westminster, the Whigs had suddenly begun to ask pointed questions as to what had become of certain Asiento revenues.

Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

He saw Mademoiselle Mimi, with two eyes encircled with an aureola of satisfied voluptuousness, leaving the residence in which she had acquired her title of nobility, on the arm of her new lord and master, who, to tell the truth, appeared far less proud of her new conquest than Paris after the rape of Helen.

The other Irish, divided between their clergy, who were averse to Ormond, and their nobility, who were attached to him, were very uncertain in their motions and feeble in their measures.

I will content myself with observing that if Madame de Maintenon conceived the first idea of it, it is the great benefactions of the monarch and the profound recognition of the nobility which have given stability and renown to this house.

The loss of so much French nobility caused royal commissioners afterward to scour the provinces for bourgeois and rich peasants prepared to pay for ennoblement.

He wore the purple cincture, showing that he was of the nobility, and his accouterments blazed with jewels.

Quite right--of course--and proper, but Coode would do it with too much nobility, or as though it was the one and only funeral he had ever met.

Such a man as I have just portrayed could not make a fortune in Venice, because an aristocratic government can not obtain a state of lasting, steady peace at home unless equality is maintained amongst the nobility, and equality, either moral or physical, cannot be appreciated in any other way than by appearances.

The nobility and grace of this remark completely upset me, and I ran out to weep like a child, in the garden where no one could see me.