Etymology
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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.

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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.
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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).
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nobleman (n.)

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

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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]
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sublimity (n.)
early 15c., "loftiness, exaltation, worthiness, nobility, glory," from Latin sublimitatem (nominative sublimitas) "loftiness, exaltation," from sublimis (see sublime).
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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.
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worth (n.)
Old English weorþ "value, price, price paid; worth, worthiness, merit; equivalent value amount, monetary value," from worth (adj.). From c. 1200 as "excellence, nobility."
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chivalry (n.)

c. 1300, "body or host of knights; knighthood in the feudal social system; bravery in war, warfare as an art," from Old French chevalerie "knighthood, chivalry, nobility, cavalry, art of war," from chevaler "knight," from Medieval Latin caballarius "horseman," from Latin caballus "nag, pack-horse" (see cavalier).

From late 14c. as "the nobility as one of the estates of the realm," also as the word for an ethical code emphasizing honor, valor, generosity and courtly manners. Modern use for "social and moral code of medieval feudalism" probably is an 18c. historical revival.

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highness (n.)
Old English heanes; see high (adj.) + -ness. Meaning "royalty, excellence, nobility" is early 13c.; Your Highness as a form of address to English royalty is attested from c. 1400.
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