highborn

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English[edit]

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Adjective[edit]

highborn ‎(not comparable)

  1. (archaic) Of high social standing as a result of having been born a member of an upper-level social class.
    • 1596, William Shakespeare , King John, act 5 scene 2:
      I am too high-born to be propertied,
      To be a secondary at control.
    • 1672, Thomas Watson, "The Righteous Man's Excellency" in A plea for the Godly, Thomas Parkhurst, page 95:
      It is not for Kings to drink wine, nor for Princes strong drink. It becomes not them who are highborn to be intemperate.
    • 1781, Samuel Johnson, "Waller" in Lives of the Poets:
      His acquaintance with this high-born dame gave wit no opportunity of boasting its influence; she was not to be subdued by the powers of verse, but rejected his addresses, it is said, with disdain.
    • 1857, William Makepeace ThackerayThe Virginians, chapter 63:
      The young Irishman was not a little touched and elated by the highborn damsel's partiality for him.
    • 1920, Joseph Conrad, The Rescue, chapter 4:
      Was he not Rajah Hassim and was not the other a man of strong heart, of strong arm, of proud courage, a man great enough to protect highborn princes?
    • 2007 July 14, Lesley White, "Face of Tories' new deal—Gordon Brown is enjoying a honeymoon now," The Australian:
      He is a career rather than a conviction politician, but too highborn to be written off as a mere scaler of the greasy pole. He is a scion of the class that, deep down, believes it was born to rule.
  2. (archaic) Born a member of an upper-level social class (although not necessarily retaining high social standing)
    • 1848, Thomas Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James II, volume 5, chapter 23:
      The selfish, base, covetous, father-in-law was not at all desirous to have a highborn beggar and the posterity of a highborn beggar to maintain.
    • 1996, Peter F. Ainsworth, "'The Letter Killeth': Law and Spirit in Marie De France's Lay of Le Fresne," French Studies, volume L, no. 1 (Jan.), page 5:
      The references to the lady's long-standing affection for her loyal, high-born servant girl provide a succinct intimation that the lady herself is not a wholly repellent character.
    • 2007 March 9, "Travelling to his African home" Church Times (UK), iss. 7513:
      Mrs Monteith was able to tell her son about their high-born slave ancestor because he had left a memoir.
  3. Of, pertaining to, or befitting people of high social standing.
    • 1670, Richard Crashaw, "To the Queen's Majesty on Twelfth-day" in Steps to the temple; The delights of the Muses; and, Carmen Deo Nostro, Herringman (London):
      In this illustrious throng, your lofty flood
      Swells high, fair confluence of all highborn Blood.
    • 1820, Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Cenci, act 2, scene 2.2:
      I should have then
      Been trained in no highborn necessities
      Which I could meet not by my daily toil.
    • 1996, Jayne M. Blanchard, "Cherry Jubilee: New artistic director Joe Dowling sees the comedy in Chekhov and intends to bring a lighter 'Cherry Orchard' to the Guthrie Stage," St. Paul Pioneer Press, 17 June, page 8B:
      Dowling says that most performances of Chekhov plays have been filtered through translations into a British highborn sensibility.
    • 2002 May 28, Kevin B. Blackistone, "Baffert trained for the spotlight," The Dallas Morning News:
      If anyone in the highborn sport known as thoroughbred horse racing has swagger these days, it is Baffert.
  4. (figuratively) Of superior or premium quality; magnificent; expensive.

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