Definition of nous in English:

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Pronunciation: /no͞os/


1 Philosophy The mind or intellect.
Example sentences
  • In antiquity commentators traditionally referred to this intellect as the active intellect, nous poiêtikos.
  • The Greek word for repentance is metanoia (from meta, ‘after’, and nous, ‘mind’).
  • Sorcery is a tiny facet of magic, whose final goal is the realisation of nous and the unification of heaven and earth.
2 informal, chiefly British Common sense; practical intelligence: if he had any nous at all, he’d sell the movie rights
More example sentences
  • At least they appear to possess more nous [common sense] than is often credited to viewers of that kind of program.
  • But it is hardly surprising - when just about every aspect of the curriculum is now prescribed by the government - that teachers feel impotent to use their own know-how and nous.
  • McAllister's performances caught the eye of Liverpool manager Houllier, who was searching for an experienced campaigner to add nous and wisdom to his young midfield.


Late 17th century (sense 1): from Greek, 'mind, intelligence, intuitive apprehension'.

Words that rhyme with nous

douse, dowse, Gauss, grouse, house, Klaus, louse, Manaus, mouse, Rouse, souse, spouse, Strauss

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: nous

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