Etymology
Advertisement
nobility (n.)

mid-14c., nobilite, "honor, renown; majesty, grandeur;" late 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; social or political preeminence, usually accompanied by hereditary privilege" is attested from late 14c.; sense of "the noble class collectively" is from late 14c. Sense of "dignity of mind, elevation of the soul, loftiness of tone" is from 1590s.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
*gno- 

*gnō-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to know."

It forms all or part of: acknowledge; acquaint; agnostic; anagnorisis; astrognosy; can (v.1) "have power to, be able;" cognition; cognizance; con (n.2) "study;" connoisseur; could; couth; cunning; diagnosis; ennoble; gnome; (n.2) "short, pithy statement of general truth;" gnomic; gnomon; gnosis; gnostic; Gnostic; ignoble; ignorant; ignore; incognito; ken (n.1) "cognizance, intellectual view;" kenning; kith; know; knowledge; narrate; narration; nobility; noble; notice; notify; notion; notorious; physiognomy; prognosis; quaint; recognize; reconnaissance; reconnoiter; uncouth; Zend.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit jna- "know;" Avestan zainti- "knowledge," Old Persian xšnasatiy "he shall know;" Old Church Slavonic znati "recognizes," Russian znat "to know;" Latin gnoscere "get to know," nobilis "known, famous, noble;" Greek gignōskein "to know," gnōtos "known," gnōsis "knowledge, inquiry;" Old Irish gnath "known;" German kennen "to know," Gothic kannjan "to make known."

Related entries & more 
generosity (n.)
early 15c., "nobility, goodness of race," from Latin generositatem (nominative generositas) "nobility, excellence, magnanimity," from generosus "of noble birth; magnanimous" (see generous). Meaning "munificence, quality of being generous" is recorded from 1670s.
Related entries & more 
gentry (n.)
c. 1300, "nobility of rank or birth;" mid-14c., "a fashion or custom of the nobility;" late 14c., "nobility of character," from Old French genterie, genterise, variant of gentelise "noble birth, aristocracy; courage, honor; kindness, gentleness," from gentil "high-born, noble, of good family" (see gentle). Meaning "noble persons, the class of well-born and well-bred people" is from 1520s in English, later often in England referring to the upper middle class, persons of means and leisure but below the nobility. Earlier in both senses was gentrice (c. 1200 as "nobility of character," late 14c. as "noble persons"), and gentry in early use also might have been regarded as a singular of that. In Anglo-Irish, gentry was a name for "the fairies" (1880), and gentle could mean "enchanted" (1823).
Related entries & more 
nobleman (n.)

"man of noble birth, one of the nobility, a peer," c. 1300, from noble (adj.) + man (n.). Noblewoman is from late 15c.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
nobleness (n.)

"state or quality of being noble," c. 1400; see noble (adj.) + -ness.

In application to things nobleness is rather more appropriate than nobility, as the nobleness of architecture or one's English, while nobility is more likely to be applied to persons and their belongings, as nobility of character or of rank; but this distinction is no more than a tendency as yet. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
Related entries & more 
sublimity (n.)
early 15c., "loftiness, exaltation, worthiness, nobility, glory," from Latin sublimitatem (nominative sublimitas) "loftiness, exaltation," from sublimis (see sublime).
Related entries & more 
arete (n.2)
important concept in Greek philosophy, "rank, nobility, moral virtue, excellence," especially of manly qualities; literally "that which is good," a word of uncertain origin.
Related entries & more 
Eugene 
masc. proper name, from French Eugène, from Latin Eugenius, from Greek Eugenios, literally "nobility of birth," from eugenes "well-born" (see eugenics).
Related entries & more 
Eugenia 
fem. proper name, from Latin, from Greek Eugenia, literally "nobility of birth," fem. of Eugenius (see Eugene).
Related entries & more