sublimity


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Sublimity \Sub*lim"i*ty\, n.; pl. Sublimities. [L. sublimitas:
   cf. F. sublimit['e].]
   1. The quality or state of being sublime (in any sense of the
      adjective).
      [1913 Webster]

   2. That which is sublime; as, the sublimities of nature.
      [1913 Webster]

   Syn: Grandeur; magnificence.

   Usage: Sublimity, Grandeur. The mental state indicated by
          these two words is the same, namely, a mingled emotion
          of astonishment and awe. In speaking of the quality
          which produces this emotion, we call it grandeur when
          it springs from what is vast in space, power, etc.; we
          call it sublimity when it springs from what is
          elevated far above the ordinary incidents of humanity.
          An immense plain is grand. The heavens are not only
          grand, but sublime (as the predominating emotion),
          from their immense height. Exalted intellect, and
          especially exalted virtue under severe trials, give us
          the sense of moral sublimity, as in the case of our
          Savior in his prayer for his murderers. We do not
          speak of Satan, when standing by the fiery gulf, with
          his "unconquerable will and study of revenge," as a
          sublime object; but there is a melancholy grandeur
          thrown around him, as of an "archangel ruined."
          [1913 Webster]
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