numinous

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin nūmen (nod of the head; divine sway or will; divinity) +‎ -ous (suffix forming adjectives from nouns, denoting possession or presence of a quality). Nūmen is believed to derive either from Latin *nuō (to nod) or from Ancient Greek νοούμενον (nooúmenon, influence perceptible by the mind but not the senses) (ultimately from νόος (nóos, mind; thought; purpose)).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

numinous (comparative more numinous, superlative most numinous)

  1. Of or relating to a numen (divinity); indicating the presence of a divinity. [from mid 17th c.]
    His interest in numinous objects led him on a quest for the Holy Grail.
  2. Evoking a sense of the mystical, sublime, or transcendent; awe-inspiring.
    • 1971, Peter Brown, The World of Late Antiquity: From Marcus Aurelius to Muhammad (Library of European civilization), London: Thames and Hudson, →ISBN, page 154:
      [Justinian I] had the genius to realize the vast resources available to an east Roman emperor of the early sixth century — an almost numinous past history, a full treasury, an unrivalled supply of human talent in every field.

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