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).

2.

That which is sublime; as, the sublimities of nature.

Syn. -- Grandeur; magnificence. -- 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."

 

© Webster 1913.

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