noblesse (n.)

c. 1200, "noble birth, high rank or condition," from Old French noblece "noble birth, splendor, magnificence" (Modern French noblesse), from Vulgar Latin *nobilitia, from Latin nobilis (see noble (adj.)). Post-Middle English uses are perhaps reborrowings from French. Meaning "persons of noble rank" is from 1590s. The French phrase noblesse oblige "privilege entails responsibility, noble birth or rank compels noble acts" (literally "nobility obliges") is attested in English by 1837.

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