nous (ns, nous)
a. Reason and knowledge as opposed to sense perception.
b. The rational part of the individual human soul.
c. The principle of the cosmic mind or soul responsible for the rational order of the cosmos.
d. In Stoicism, the equivalent of Logos.
e. In Neoplatonism, the image of the absolute good, containing the cosmos of intelligible beings.
2. Chiefly British Good sense; shrewdness: "Hillela had the nous to take up with the General when he was on the up-and-up again" (Nadine Gordimer).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.