Definition of numinous in English:



  • Having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.

    ‘the strange, numinous beauty of this ancient landmark’
    • ‘It's a different spiritual awareness than the numinous qualities of James MacMillan or the orthodox, religion-poaching Tavener.’
    • ‘More than that, though, it is a mysterious, numinous presence that inhabits it, both attractive and frightening, grand and gentle, like the spirit of the sea itself, and the peoples that live by and with it.’
    • ‘Brunnehilde, when she informs Siegmund of his imminent death, is another such darkling, numinous presence.’
    • ‘The place seemed dull to me - I was reading the Romantic poets for my Higher Secondary, and my taste was for wild landscapes and numinous presences.’
    • ‘He experienced the unconscious as a living, numinous presence, the constant companion of every waking moment.’
    • ‘To inquire into the meaning of the word was to open oneself to a powerful, numinous presence that had the capacity to transform their lives.’
    • ‘Is such an idea even comprehensible to men and women who live without the constant presence of the numinous or divine at our shoulder?’
    • ‘She says she is not religious, and no longer seems to think, as she used to, that she is living through the last of many reincarnations. But her sense of the numinous is real and strong.’
    • ‘But if they're separated from the essence of music, which is its numinous quality, then the power of music has been debilitated.’
    • ‘But I've always felt instinctively that music had this numinous quality.’
    • ‘To be spiritual means, primarily, to be the sort of person who seeks answers to the great questions in life from the religious and numinous realm of human culture and experience, and especially our dreams of divinity.’
    • ‘Aside from the destruction of the spirit of numinous ancient places there is also the simple fact of artistic vandalism.’
    • ‘My Chinese guests, probably typical citizens of modern China's grey agnostic culture, were immediately touched by the sense of peace, natural beauty and numinous aura at Tobernalt.’
    • ‘But it works out superbly partly due to Tykwer's sense of the numinous that is present in all his films and equally due to some great performances.’
    • ‘I could imagine myself doing all of those things attempted but without ever feeling any sense of the numinous or of transcendence.’
    • ‘Here, indeed, we have ‘matter for solace and pleasure’ as music's numinous beauty is set against the narrator's loss of youth and love to create an atmosphere of wistful nostalgia.’
    • ‘Emerson's ‘spirit’ and ‘spirituality’ had already become less and less numinous, more and more material.’
    • ‘When we speak of ‘the mind’ or ‘the self’ we are not talking about a set of numinous inner entities, which are not open to inspection, but about observable actions and language.’
    • ‘But if science and mysticism are combined here, another aspect of A Furnace's Modernist interest in the non-rational is a strong sense of the occult and the numinous.’
    • ‘That is, the archetypes have, when they appear, a distinctly numinous character which can only be described as ‘spiritual,’ if ‘magical’ is too strong a word.’
    non-material, inner, psychic, psychical, psychological


Mid 17th century from Latin numen, numin- ‘divine will’ + -ous.