Entries linking to ennoble
Also used with native and imported elements to form verbs from nouns and adjectives, with a sense "put in or on" (encircle), also "cause to be, make into" (endear), and used as an intensive (enclose). Spelling variants in French that were brought over into Middle English account for parallels such as ensure/insure, and most en- words in English had at one time or another a variant in in-, and vice versa.
c. 1200, "illustrious, distinguished, of high rank or birth," from Old French noble "of noble bearing or birth," from Latin nobilis "well-known, famous, renowned; excellent, superior, splendid; high-born, of superior birth," earlier *gnobilis, literally "knowable," from gnoscere "to come to know" (from PIE root *gno- "to know"). The prominent Roman families, which were "well known," provided most of the Republic's public officials.
Sense of "distinguished by splendor, magnificence, or stateliness" is from late 13c. Meaning "worthy of honor or respect " is from mid-14c. Sense of "having lofty character, having high moral qualities" is from c. 1600. Noble savage is "primitive man conceived of as morally superior to civilized man;" the phrase itself is from Dryden; the idea developed in the 18c.
I am as free as Nature first made Man,
Ere the base Laws of Servitude began,
When wild in Woods the noble Savage ran.
[Dryden, "Conquest of Granada," 1672]
A noble gas (1902) is so called for its inactivity or inertness; a use of the word that had been applied in Middle English to precious stones, metals, etc., that did not alter or oxidize when exposed to air (late 14c.), with noble in the sense of "having admirable properties" (c. 1300).
*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."