the meaning of an intimation of nobility

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Senior Member
Hi, everyone.

I first read about Thomas Vander Woude's death in the Washington Post soon after he died, but this is the sort of story that stays with you. The hellishness of his final moments gives the story a kind of ghastly power. But there is also something opposite: an intimation of nobility, and a lesson about living.

Would you please explain to me the phrase "an intimation of nobility" ?

I try to look up them into a dictionary but I cannot understand it.

  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It is just the two meanings put together: an intimation is a hint, a small sign, something that faintly suggests. So something suggests his nobility. I don't know who he was, so I can't guess how he was noble, but it possibly means meeting his death (or perhaps earlier troubles) in an honourable and brave way, not making a fuss, setting an example to others.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree with Entangled that here the sense of intimation of nobility is "just the two meanings put together". Nevertheless, I have heard the collocation before and wondered what its origin is.

    I found a clue on Google, in a quotation from Abraham Edel's Aristotle and his Philosophy.
    When [the minds of the young] mature ... they develop a rational conception of the good to replace the felt intimations of nobility...

    I understand this to mean that in the philosophy of Aristotle intimations of nobility are human actions that we instinctively feel are signs of goodness. There (and not necessarily in Thuhoai's document) they are contrasted with human qualities that we decide are good on the basis of a rational ethic.
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