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privileged social class
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Nobility (from Latin nobilitas, the abstract noun of the adjective nobilis, "well-known, famous, notable") refers to a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The word is also often used to indicate such virtues or qualities as are generally associated with official forms of nobility, or expected of those with the privileges or powers of nobility.


  • Il sangue nobile è un accidente della fortuna; le azioni nobili caratterizzano il grande.
  • Noble by birth, yet nobler by great deeds.
  • As one lamp lights another, nor grows less,
    So nobleness enkindleth nobleness.
    • James Russell Lowell, "Yussouf", lines 17–18, The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell (1900), p. 376. Selected by Charles W. Eliot, president of Harvard, to be inscribed above the statue of Art, Main Reading Room, Library of Congress.
  • Be NOBLE! and the nobleness that lies
    In other men, sleeping, but never dead,
    Will rise in majesty to meet thine own.
    • James Russell Lowell, "Sonnet IV", The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell (1900), p. 20. Inscribed, with some changes in capitalziation and line breaks, on the south facade of Union Station, Washington, D.C.
  • Be aristocracy the only joy:
    Let commerce perish — let the world expire.
    • Anonymous, Modern Gulliver's Travels (1796), p. 192.
  • Almost all the noblest things that have been achieved in the world, have been achieved by poor men; poor scholars, poor professional men, poor artisans and artists, poor philosophers, poets, and men of genius.
    • Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (1871), Ch. XXII : Knight of the Royal Axe, or Prince of Libanus, p. 347.
  • This was the noblest Roman of them all:
    All the conspirators save only he
    Did that they did in envy of great Cæsar;
    He only, in a general honest thought
    And common good to all, made one of them.
  • Better not to be at all
    Than not be noble.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 559-60.
  • If there is anything good about nobility it is that it enforces the necessity of avoiding degeneracy.
  • Inquinat egregios adjuncta superbia mores.
    • The noblest character is stained by the addition of pride.
    • Claudianus, De Quarto Consulatu Honorii Augustii Panegyris, 305.
  • Ay, these look like the workmanship of heaven;
    This is the porcelain clay of human kind,
    And therefore cast into these noble moulds.
  • O lady, nobility is thine, and thy form is the reflection of thy nature!
  • There are epidemics of nobleness as well as epidemics of disease.
  • Ein edler Mensch zieht edle Menschen an,
    Und weiss sie fest zu halten, wie ihr thut.
    • A noble soul alone can noble souls attract;
      And knows alone, as ye, to hold them.
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Torquato Tasso, I. 1. 59.
  • Par nobile fratrum.
    • A noble pair of brothers.
    • Horace, Satires, II. 3. 243.
  • Fond man! though all the heroes of your line
    Bedeck your halls, and round your galleries shine
    In proud display; yet take this truth from me—
    Virtue alone is true nobility!
    • Juvenal, Satire VIII, line 29. Gifford's translation. "Virtus sola nobilitat," is the Latin of last line.
  • Noblesse oblige.
    • There are obligations to nobility.
    • Variant translation: Nobility brings obligations.
    • Comte de Laborde, in a notice to the French Historical Society in 1865, attributes the phrase to Duc de Levis, who used it in 1808, apropos of the establishment of the nobility.
  • Let wealth and commerce, laws and learning die,
    But leave us still our old nobility.
  • Whoe'er amidst the sons
    Of reason, valor, liberty, and virtue
    Displays distinguished merit, is a noble
    Of Nature's own creating.

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