Definition of sublime in English:

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Pronunciation: /səˈblīm/

adjective (sublimer, sublimest)

1Of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe: Mozart’s sublime piano concertos (as noun the sublime) experiences that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous
More example sentences
  • This and other personality tests - varying from the sublime to the ridiculous - are also available via the link above.
  • It touches everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.
  • From the sublime to the ridiculous and truly perplexing I thought I'd share them with you.
1.1Used to denote the extreme or unparalleled nature of a person’s attitude or behavior: he had the sublime confidence of youth
More example sentences
  • And a figure like Joseph Chamberlain had sublime confidence, as had Disraeli before him, that the people could be ‘managed’.
  • Smith tackles these deeper traits with sublime confidence, bolstered by the similarities between his personality and Ali's.
  • The nutmeg as Mills tried to shield the ball at the corner flag was a sublime example of justified arrogance.
supreme, total, complete, utter, consummate


1 [no object] Chemistry (Of a solid substance) change directly into vapor when heated, typically forming a solid deposit again on cooling.
Example sentences
  • A layer of volcanic ash and dust seems to have protected the ice from subliming away, the researcher said.
  • Sometimes pieces of the mats become encased in ice that migrates upward as the top of the ice sublimes.
  • Chloranil (Fluka) was recrystallized from acetone and sublimed under vacuum.
1.1 [with object] Cause (a substance) to do this: these crystals could be sublimed under a vacuum
2 [with object] archaic Elevate to a high degree of moral or spiritual purity or excellence.



Pronunciation: /səˈblīmlē/
Example sentences
  • The in-person narration - by the sublimely resonant and folksy-sounding voice of Fred Thompson - is very effective.
  • This, after all, was a haunt of renowned North Yorkshire artisan and hellraiser, Lewis Creighton, whose sublimely wacky paintings adorn the walls of the Duke's Bar.
  • The most sublimely gifted Aboriginal athlete ever, 68% of her countryfolk expect her to register a resounding triumph for the green and gold.


Pronunciation: /səˈblimədē/
Example sentences
  • The nobility, sublimity, depth, pathos and exuberance of his concerts remain esoteric and reveal his scholarship, authority and authenticity.
  • Their subject is always the tragic fate of empire (and of all human endeavor) when pitted against the sublimity and grandeur of nature.
  • The terrorist is noble, terrible, irresistibly fascinating, for he combines in himself the two sublimities of human grandeur: the martyr and the hero.


Late 16th century (in the sense 'dignified, aloof'): from Latin sublimis, from sub- 'up to' + a second element perhaps related to limen 'threshold', limus 'oblique'.

  • Originally sublime meant ‘dignified or aloof’—the source is Latin sublimis ‘in a high position, lofty’, probably from sub- ‘up to’ and limen ‘threshold or lintel’. The modern sense of ‘outstandingly beautiful or grand’ arose in the 17th century. Sublimate, from the same source, had been used by medieval alchemists as a chemical term. The expression from the sublime to the ridiculous is a shortening of the saying from the sublime to the ridiculous is only a step, a remark attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte, following the retreat from Moscow in 1812. Napoleon was not the first to express such an idea, though. The English political writer Thomas Paine wrote in The Age of Reason (1794): ‘The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime, makes the ridiculous; and one step above the ridiculous, makes the sublime again.’

Words that rhyme with sublime

begrime, Chaim, chime, climb, clime, crime, dime, grime, half-time, I'm, lime, mime, mistime, part-time, prime, rhyme, rime, slime, sub-prime, thyme, time

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sub·lime

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