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Nonentity   Listen
noun
Nonentity  n.  (pl. nonentities)  
1.
Nonexistence; the negation of being.
2.
A thing not existing.
3.
A person or thing of little or no account; an unimportant person; usually used as a disparaging term. (Colloq.)






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Nonentity" Quotes from Famous Books



... the President rather that to let Mr. Seward retire and deprive the people of his patriotic services. It was moreover expected that, thus warned by the patriots, the President would seize the first occasion to infuse energy into his Cabinet. But there is a Mr. Usher, a docile nonentity, made Secretary of the Interior; of course the Secretary of State will be ...
— Diary from November 12, 1862, to October 18, 1863 • Adam Gurowski

... way. The Democrat had great faith in talking things over, spite of his failure to convince the Aristocrat; he never really doubted that if he only harangued against obstacles long enough they would ultimately disappear. The Bishop, for instance, would willingly rush into nonentity, if once he could be brought to look at his duty in that light, and the Democrat was eager to begin to put it before him in that light immediately. But while he was still looking earnestly for his expected proselyte, someone else advanced with a similar purpose—a ...
— 'That Very Mab' • May Kendall and Andrew Lang

... me? No, not you," he exclaimed at last, in reply to some version of his own of my ideas, which I carefully made a nonentity under the scrutiny of his keen blue eyes. "No, no, missy; you wait a bit. Uncle Sam was not hatched yesterday, and it takes fifty young ladies to ...
— Erema - My Father's Sin • R. D. Blackmore

... the malachite bowls of white roses to the place where Mrs. O'Rane was leaning forward with one elbow on the table and her other hand repressing Gaymer. The cast of the "Divorce" was being slightly changed, and they had thought it worth while to venture a sovereign on the name of one nonentity who was retiring in favour of another. Eric adjudicated in Gaymer's favour and was turning to give Barbara a last chance, when he found that the flood-gates were open and that every one, taking his time from Lady Poynter, was prepared to discuss dramatic art in general and, in ...
— The Education of Eric Lane • Stephen McKenna

... minutes," continued the latter, "my sole sentiment—my sole feeling—was that of darkness and nonentity, with the consciousness of death. At length there seemed to pass a violent and sudden shock through my soul, as if of electricity. With it came the sense of elasticity and of light. This latter I felt—not saw. ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 3 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... whom the very thought disgusted the two friends was that jumping-jack of an Arthur Papillon. Universal suffrage, with its accustomed intelligence, had not failed to elect this nonentity and bombastic fool, and to-day he flounders about like a fish out of water in the midst of this political cesspool. Having been enriched by a large dowry, he has been by turns deputy, secretary, vice-president, ...
— A Romance of Youth, Complete • Francois Coppee

... in the middle of a circle made on the turf. The master of the gang commenced, and after much stamping with his foot, and the gentleman warmly exhorting him to cry aloud, like the roaring of a lion, he endeavoured to call forth nonentity into existence. Asking him if he could do it, he answered, "I am not strong enough." They were all asked the same question, which received the same answer. The visitor commenced. Every eye was fixed upon him, eager ...
— Gipsy Life - being an account of our Gipsies and their children • George Smith

... life! At the same time I will add that, among those whose opinions I most value, some think me not altogether wrong when I venture to speak of the momentary momentousness and eternal futility of many noisiest questions. However, you must simply view me as a nonentity in any practical relation to such matters. You have spoken but too generously of a sonnet of mine in your lecture just received. I have written a few others of the sort (which by-the-bye would not prove ...
— Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti - 1883 • T. Hall Caine

... Ribera—Juan de las Roelas (el Clerigo), Del Mazo—son-in-law of Velasquez, and responsible for dozens of false attributions—Carreno de Miranda, Jose Leonardo, Juan Rizi V. Iriarte, the two Herreras, the elder a truculent charlatan, the younger a nonentity, and others of the Spanish school may be dismissed ...
— Promenades of an Impressionist • James Huneker

... was a nonentity put into a red jacket. The surgeon was a tall, and very finicking sort of gentleman as to dress; but well informed, friendly in disposition, and perfectly acquainted ...
— Percival Keene • Frederick Marryat

... courts those questions which concern the execution of its own laws. To this it is answered that the Union is in so singular a position that in relation to some matters it constitutes a people, and that in relation to all the rest it is a nonentity. But the inference to be drawn is, that in the laws relating to these matters the Union possesses all the rights of absolute sovereignty. The difficulty is to know what these matters are; and when ...
— Democracy In America, Volume 1 (of 2) • Alexis de Tocqueville

... doubt. Except for one or two slight and jocular references to Mr. Gladstone's minor idiosyncrasies—the shape of his collars, and his passion for felling trees, Gordon leaves him unnoticed while he lavishes his sardonic humour upon Lord Granville. But in truth Lord Granville was a nonentity. The error shows how dim the realities of England had grown to the watcher in Khartoum. When he looked towards home, the figure that loomed largest upon his vision was— it was only natural that it should have been so the ...
— Eminent Victorians • Lytton Strachey

... paternal Ehrenthal, however, tried in vain to keep up a conversation with him. Fink contrived not to appear aware of his presence, without, however, being in any way rude. Every one felt it to be in the nature of things; and Ehrenthal himself humbly acted the part of nonentity assigned to him, and consoled himself ...
— Debit and Credit - Translated from the German of Gustav Freytag • Gustav Freytag

... she has to admit that Floyd has dignity, ability, character, and if he is coming out as a genius he will be quite the style. There is one woman who could do the honors perfectly,—madame,—and she feels as if she could almost wring the life out of the small nonentity who has usurped her place, for of course Floyd would soon have cared for madame if she had ...
— Floyd Grandon's Honor • Amanda Minnie Douglas

... Any one will testify that, in a given environment, say that of high school or university or that of the worst types of what is called society, the maternal instinct may then and there, and for that period, become a nonentity in many a girl. Hence we are entitled to say that it is delicate; much more delicate, for instance, than what we have agreed to call the racial instinct, which is far more imperious and by no means so easily ...
— Woman and Womanhood - A Search for Principles • C. W. Saleeby

... start building a political organization, here in Pennsylvania. In 1960, I think we can elect you President. The world situation will be crucial, by that time, and we had a good-natured nonentity in the White House then, who let things go till war became inevitable. I think President Hartley can be trusted to take a strong line of policy. In the ...
— Time and Time Again • Henry Beam Piper

... the note with a silent nod. In some directions he was gifted with astounding insight, and he could read in the faces of the haughty males surrounding him that in the space of a few minutes he had risen from nonentity into renown. He had become a great man. He did not at once realise how great, how renowned. But he saw enough in those eyes to cause his heart to glow, and to rouse in his brain those ambitious ...
— The Card, A Story Of Adventure In The Five Towns • Arnold Bennett

... on. Mollendorf is to go to Paris, where he will be a nonentity, while in his present office he is a power in the land—Devil take me, but it seems to me that we are all a pack of asses! Our gains will not be commensurate with our losses. The navy? Well, we'll let that pass; the Colonel, I see, ...
— The Puppet Crown • Harold MacGrath

... to hear the sham chauffeur talk. When things go well, he does it; when they go wrong, it is the fault of some one else; if he makes a successful run, the mechanic with him is a nonentity; if he breaks down, the mechanic is his only resource. It is more interesting to hear the mechanic—the real chauffeur —talk when he is flat on his back making good the mistakes of his master, but his conversation could not be printed verbatim ...
— Two Thousand Miles On An Automobile • Arthur Jerome Eddy

... Nothing at all," Isabel replied while her patience helped itself by turning a little to hardness. "If he had done great things would you forgive me any better? Give me up, Mr. Goodwood; I'm marrying a perfect nonentity. Don't try to take an interest ...
— The Portrait of a Lady - Volume 2 (of 2) • Henry James

... exercise the responsibilities of his position. One can well imagine, therefore, that the almost total deprivation from temporal power, and the neutralized allegiance of so many of his Italian subjects, must be most galling and heart-breaking to him. The Pope, indeed, is almost a nonentity at home; yet we cannot but feel that this alienation between Italy and her spiritual father is for the real good of the State. It has ever been the policy of the Papacy to keep the people in poverty ...
— Fair Italy, the Riviera and Monte Carlo • W. Cope Devereux

... come now, Mr. Amherst," she began haughtily; but a glance from her husband reduced her to a heaving pink nonentity. ...
— The Fruit of the Tree • Edith Wharton

... hate business! More and more I am beginning to think less and less of what one accomplishes materially in this life. What does it matter? I think it is less help to be able to help those about one a little materially and be more or less a nonentity as an individual than to be able to mean something as a person with a heart and comprehension. There are some beautiful things in this life that everything organized tries to make hideous and monstrous ...
— Nelka - Mrs. Helen de Smirnoff Moukhanoff, 1878-1963, a Biographical Sketch • Michael Moukhanoff

... He is a bombastic mutt, a windjammer nonentity, a false alarm, and an encumberer ...
— Toaster's Handbook - Jokes, Stories, and Quotations • Peggy Edmund & Harold W. Williams, compilers

... single vote," said Mr Jermyn. "He is a political humbug, the greatest of all humbugs; a man who swaggers about London clubs and consults solemnly about his influence, and in the country is a nonentity." ...
— Sybil - or the Two Nations • Benjamin Disraeli

... better connected than the mere red-and-white creatures with whom they are occasionally forced to share a meadow. To show that they understand what is due to their dignity, they refuse to talk with the common herd, and stand with their backs to any red-and-white nonentity that may presume to graze near, conversing among themselves in refined monotones with the air of saying, ...
— The Chauffeur and the Chaperon • C. N. Williamson

... but to retire after this, which Mrs. Guthrie Brimston did, discomfited, and with an uneasy feeling, which had been growing upon her lately, that Evadne was not quite the nonentity for which she had ...
— The Heavenly Twins • Madame Sarah Grand

... of this impression, and, in its way, that thrilled her too. You have little chance with a woman in this world if you are a nonentity. Personality inevitably wins its way, and, in that she was susceptible to the personality of the man beside her, Sally forgot the circumstances of their acquaintance, forgot to review them with that same impartial judgment ...
— Sally Bishop - A Romance • E. Temple Thurston

... stroke of good luck that he scarcely deserved. He died without a moment's pain, with a merry thought in his head, perhaps, while many another better man has to linger in torture for weeks. No, Bormann, the best I can say about Winkler is that his death makes one nonentity the ...
— The Lamp That Went Out • Augusta Groner

... this respect. Why this express prohibition, if the law-making power cannot abolish slavery? A stately farce, indeed, formally to construct a special clause, and with appropriate rites induct it into the Constitution, for the express purpose of restricting a nonentity!—to take from the lawmaking power what it never had, and what cannot pertain to it! The legislatures of those States have no power to abolish slavery, simply because their Constitutions have expressly taken away ...
— The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus • American Anti-Slavery Society

... very soul to ONE whom I know exists, and whom I am satisfied to believe in, as you say, without proofs, save such proofs as I obtain from my own inner consciousness? I tell you, though, in your opinion it is evident my sex is against me, I would rather die than sink into the miserable nonentity of such lives as are lived by the ...
— A Romance of Two Worlds • Marie Corelli

... and sure the guilt, if there was any in my conduct, was but venial; for I considered myself as a person absolved of all matrimonial ties, by the insignificance of Lord ——, who, though a nominal husband, was in fact a mere nonentity. I therefore contracted a new engagement with my lover, to which I resolved to adhere with the most scrupulous fidelity, without the least intention of injuring my lord or his relations; for, had our mutual passion ...
— The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Volume I • Tobias Smollett

... out of doors. The young Athenian from his sixth year onward spent his whole day away from home, in the company of his contemporaries, at school or palaestra, or in the streets. When he came home there was no home life. His mother was a nonentity, living in the woman's apartments; he probably saw little of her. His real home was the palaestra, his companions his contemporaries and his paidagogos. He learned to disassociate himself from his family and associate himself with his fellow citizens. No doubt he lost ...
— THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION • ELLWOOD P. CUBBERLEY

... common-looking set of people. They walked round the oblong arena in the Palais de l'Industrie exactly as circus people do round the track at the Hippodrome. The most interesting figure was old Jerome—interesting, not for himself, as he was a nonentity, but as the brother of the most famous ...
— Philip Gilbert Hamerton • Philip Gilbert Hamerton et al

... its worst, and leaving the place at an hour's notice, to sail away to protection, or, if she chose to remain in England, to surround herself with a bodyguard of the people in whose eyes his disrepute relegated a man such as Nigel Anstruthers to powerless nonentity. Alone, she could have smiled and turned her back upon him. But she was here to take care of Rosy. She occupied a position something like that of a woman who remains with a man and endures outrage because she cannot leave her child. ...
— The Shuttle • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... business; and this belongs to thee, to thy own people,—must it be dead forever?—Perhaps yes,—and kill me too into the bargain. Really I think it very shocking that we run to Greece, to Italy, to &c., &c., and leave all at home lying buried as a nonentity. Were I absolute Sovereign and Chief Pontiff here, there should be a study of the Old English ages first of all. I will pit Odin against any Jupiter of them; find Sea-kings that would have given Jason a Roland for his Oliver! We are, as you sometimes say, a book-ridden ...
— The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1834-1872, Vol II. • Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson

... about the origin of the phrase 'an old identity.' Surely no man, however old, can be an identity? An entity he is, or a nonentity; an individual, a centenarian, or an oldest inhabitant; but identity is a condition of sameness, of being identical with something. One can establish one's identity with that of some one who is being sought or sued, but once established ...
— A Dictionary of Austral English • Edward Morris

... is the best and kindest of men; his wife is—well, a nonentity, perhaps, but not a disagreeable one; and ...
— Vixen, Volume I. • M. E. Braddon

... disturbance in the district, and that she quite failed to understand how his eccentric behavior could be harmonized with those principles of teaching which she had imbibed at the state normal school in itself lifted him nearer to equality with her. A public nuisance is really more respectable than a nonentity. ...
— The Brown Mouse • Herbert Quick

... sort. Moll Flanders, though not unkindly, and "improper" rather from the force of circumstances than from any specially vicious inclination, is certainly not a person for whom one has much liking. Colonel Jack, after his youthful experiences in pocket-picking, is rather a nonentity, something of a coward, a fellow of no particular wits, parts, or definite qualities of any kind. Singleton is a rascal who "plays Charlemagne," as the French gambling term has it, and endows his repentance with the profits of his sin. ...
— The English Novel • George Saintsbury

... non-committal silence. Again the thin dark-skinned lawyer swiftly weighed the man before him, considered the dangers in which he might become involved if he went a step farther, recoiled, then grew bolder. Sorenson had marked him for poverty and nonentity; under the favoring shelter of the irrigation company's power he might arise from both. For at moments the acute Mexican sensed the inevitable victory of the new forces at work; this, one of the last strong-holds of old time cattle and sheep interests, would break ...
— In the Shadow of the Hills • George C. Shedd

... first obtained the Canadas, its commerce consisted of a few peltries, conveyed to France by the vessels which brought out the troops and carried back the disbanded regiments. The lumber trade was unknown. The importations were a nonentity. While at present many hundreds of vessels are engaged in the direct timber trade, and more than one hundred and fifty vessels have been frequently counted on the river St Lawrence. These, it must be remembered, are almost exclusively owned ...
— Diary in America, Series Two • Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)

... children. Why they obeyed her they could not have themselves explained; perhaps it was an inheritance from the dead Mr. Grant, who had worshipped his wife as if she had been some divinity. In her own way Mrs. Grant had always been gracious and kindly to her husband, but he had been altogether a nonentity in her life. Before the children were old enough to see why, they realized that Daddy was only the man who made the money in their house. Mother spent it, buying the luxuries with which they were surrounded, the magnificent toys ...
— To Love • Margaret Peterson

... wide diversity in human beings ranging from herculean physical strength to pitiable weakness; from the mental power of genius to the nonentity of imbecility; from outstanding and unquestionable talent in arts and letters to illiteracy and clumsy inefficiency. This wide diversity in human capacity is one of the outstanding features of human nature, recorded again and again in history and ...
— Civilization and Beyond - Learning From History • Scott Nearing

... necessary to his happiness, that all his importance should be derived solely from his acquaintance with others. He cared not a straw that he was a man of fortune, of family, of consequence; he must be a man of ton; or he was an atom, a nonentity, a very worm, and no man. No lawyer at Gray's Inn, no galley slave at the oar, ever worked so hard at his task as Sir Lionel Garrett at his. Ton, to a single man, is a thing attainable enough. Sir Lionel was just gaining the envied distinction, ...
— Pelham, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... defects were so patent that there was no great expectation among thinking men of any other result than that which followed. The national power which the confederation sought to create was an entire nonentity. There was no executive power, except committees of Congress, and these had no powers to execute. Congress had practically only the power to recommend to the States. It had no power to tax, to support armies or navies, to provide for the interest or payment of the public ...
— American Eloquence, Volume I. (of 4) - Studies In American Political History (1896) • Various

... gave Cecil. Very good for mediocre people, I dare say; but it wouldn't suit me. There are some people, you know, that won't iron down for the hardest rollers. M'effacer? No! I'd rather any day be an ill-bred originality than a well-bred nonentity." ...
— Wisdom, Wit, and Pathos of Ouida - Selected from the Works of Ouida • Ouida

... engrossed his attention. His turn of mind being thus laid open to view, care was taken to supply him with the playthings usually placed in the hands of children; he was, therefore, never at a loss for occupation. His nonentity was a source of regret to us: we lamented to see a tall handsome youth, destined to rule over his fellow-men, trembling at the eight of a horse, and wasting his time in the game of hide-and-seek, or at leap-frog and whose whole information consisted in knowing his prayers, ...
— Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete • Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

... Larry had the feeling that, for all her repression, Maggie would have been glad to be more free with him. And he knew enough of human nature not to be too disheartened by her attitude. Had he been a nonentity to her, she would have ignored him. Her very insults were proof that he was a positive personality with real significance in her life. And so he counseled himself to have patience and await a thawing or an awaking. Besides, he kept repeating to himself, there would be small chance of effecting ...
— Children of the Whirlwind • Leroy Scott

... his mother, the other having struck out for himself. And Miss Eliza Leverett was weakly. Like many women of that period, when all hope of marrying and having a home of her own was past, she sank down into a gentle nonentity and dreamed of Cousin Chilian. Not that she had expected to captivate him, but life with some one like that would set one on the ...
— A Little Girl in Old Salem • Amanda Minnie Douglas

... husband," she said, "if I ever marry again, it will be a man I can respect—a man who can hold his own in the world; a man who is really a man, and not—not a nonentity!" ...
— The Swindler and Other Stories • Ethel M. Dell

... a humble man like myself, occupying a position of no authority, to fathom what may be in the minds of those great Princes of the Church, the Archbishops. In effect they rule the country, and it is possible that they prefer to place on the throne a drunken nonentity who will offer no impediment to their ambitions, rather than to elect a moral young man who might in time ...
— The Sword Maker • Robert Barr

... always despised them, for the deference and admiration that they paid her husband if for no other reason. Despised them too, it might be, because they had not seen more in herself, had thought her the dull, lifeless nonentity in whose soul no fires ...
— The Cathedral • Hugh Walpole

... keep a few armed police, but was in no sense independent. Its position in India was analogous to that of British capitalists in America who are operating a mine or factory and have been authorized to police their property. The mighty house of Tamerlane had become a political nonentity, the empire of the Great Mogul was divided among nominal viceroys who were really independent sovereigns, gorgeous but indolent. The teeming millions of India were, for the most part, as unfitted by ...
— Volume 1 of Brann The Iconoclast • William Cowper Brann

... I born. Thus awaking from the long night of what seemed, but was not, nonentity, at once into the very regions of fairy land—into a palace of imagination—into the wild dominions of monastic thought and erudition—it is not singular that I gazed around me with a startled and ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 2 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... for the exercise of tact, courage, and immutable firmness. The particular task was not one which he would have coveted, and yet he welcomed it. Anything,—anything to assuage in him that sense of ineptitude, of being ignored, a titled nonentity! ...
— The Lieutenant-Governor • Guy Wetmore Carryl

... mathematical he made, I say, exception of: number and measure he believed in to the extent of their significance, but that significance, he was never weary of reminding you, was slender to the verge of nonentity. Science was true, because it told us almost nothing. With a few abstractions it could deal, and deal correctly; conveying honestly faint truths. Apply its means to any concrete fact of life, and this high dialect of the ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume 9 • Robert Louis Stevenson

... father had uprooted from Settlesham; and the girls had much hope, but he was too much out of spirits to be sanguine. He said that he should only hear a great deal of offensive stuff from Tomkins the brewer; and that, in the desire to displease nobody, the votes should settle down on some nonentity, was the best which was likely to happen. Thus, grumbling, he set off, and his daughters watched anxiously for his return. They saw him come through the garden with a quick, light step, that made them augur well, and he entered the ...
— The Daisy Chain, or Aspirations • Charlotte Yonge

... announced that they would bet, in the speaker's place, to any amount, and in almost any odds. For, though old Psalm, by reason of non-participation in any of the drinks, fights, or games with which the camp refreshed itself, was considered a mere nonentity, it was generally admitted that men of his style could tell a lady ...
— Romance of California Life • John Habberton

... now used to the duties, and somewhat experienced therein, I could take all the necessary part of the trouble off your lordship's hands, and so render the provostry in your lordship's name a perfect nonentity." Whereupon, he was pleased to say, if I would do so, and he commended my talents and prudence, he would have no objection to be made the provost at the ensuing election. Something more explicit might have ensued ...
— The Provost • John Galt

... emperors, queens, prophets and priests, we have one that says he is nobody, a nonentity. One that was never born, and one that was born of her grandmother, and another dropped by the devil flying over the world. One has had the throat cut out and put in wrong, so that what is swallowed passes into the head, and another has his head cut off ...
— Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, March 1844 - Volume 23, Number 3 • Various

... appearance of graciousness. Alva as yet bore only the title of Captain-General, but the king had bestowed on him full powers civil and military; and the Duchess of Parma, though still nominally regent, found herself reduced to a nonentity. Alva's first step was to place strong Spanish garrisons in the principal cities, his next to get the leaders who had been marked for destruction into his power. To effect this he succeeded by fair and flattering words in securing the presence of both Egmont and Hoorn at Brussels. ...
— History of Holland • George Edmundson

... been to them a great Peradventure, a great Terror, a great Inscrutable, a stone-eyed Fate, a thin, nebulous Nothing, with no emotion, no attributes, no heart, no ear to hear, the nearest approach to nonentity, according to the despairing saying of a master of philosophy, that 'pure Being is equal to pure Nothing.' And if all men do not rise to such heights of melancholy abstraction as that, still how little there is of blessed ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... a chair. "I would fly anywhere to escape being entertained by that Ragtime' piece of human nonentity—Louise Taine. I saw them coming, just in time." He was filling his pipe as he spoke. "And ...
— The Eyes of the World • Harold Bell Wright

... wife of the preceding. Born Isaure d'Aldrigger, in 1807, at Strasbourg. An indolent blonde, fond of dancing, but a nonentity from both the moral and the intellectual ...
— Repertory Of The Comedie Humaine, Complete, A — Z • Anatole Cerfberr and Jules Franois Christophe

... part with him easily, nor suffer him to sacrifice himself without making a desperate effort to hold him back. On the other hand, and for all Rex knew, Hilda might be a foolishly sentimental, half-frivolous nonentity, who would take offence at the first word which spoke of parting and consider herself insulted by Greif's chivalrous determination. She might be a suspicious girl, who would immediately be attacked with jealousy and would imagine that Greif loved another ...
— Greifenstein • F. Marion Crawford

... sense of emptiness after the crash which will call us to our senses. The specialist's view of the world logically narrows itself down to a race of nonentities for nothings. And even if a thing is a thing, it is a nothing to a nonentity. And if it is the one business of the specialist to obtain results, and we are all browbeaten into being specialists, but one result is going to be possible. It is obvious that the man who is willing to sacrifice ...
— The Lost Art of Reading • Gerald Stanley Lee

... them much for myself. I grew into the knowledge of my unhappiness as I grew in knowledge of what might have been; but the recluse life of a French girl prevents her from expecting much from marriage but an increase of consequence. With us it is a step from tutelage to liberty—from nonentity to importance. It cannot be quite so much so in England; but, from the greater prevalence of celibacy, it has even more ECLAT and prestige than here, where marriage is the rule. The TROUSSEAU, the presents, the congratulations, the going ...
— Mr. Hogarth's Will • Catherine Helen Spence

... attempt to prove the historical nonentity of Dr. Faustus was made at Wittenberg, in the year 1683. Some of his popular biographers had claimed for him a professorship at that celebrated university, or at least brought him into connection with it,—a pretension which the actual professors of that learned ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, Issue 12, October, 1858 • Various

... Providence, watching over and directing every separate detail; or they are the result of pure chance and accident. There is nothing intermediate between these two causes. Natural law—apart from design and a designer—is, as we have seen, a nonentity—a mere expression of observed facts, for which it can give no account whatever. Mr. Darwin's argument is expressly directed to exclude the interference of a superintending Providence. Chance is the ...
— The Story of Creation as told by Theology and by Science • T. S. Ackland

... whatever might be his other qualities or faults, is among the truest of men. With a singular instinct he holds to the truth and fact; the truth alone is there for him, the rest a mere shadow and deceptive nonentity. However feeble, forlorn the reality may seem, on that and that only can he take his stand. In the Galleys of the River Loire, whither Knox and the others, after their Castle of St. Andrew's was taken, had been sent as Galley-slaves—some ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. 1-20 • Various

... universe seems a suspense, something arrested on the point of transition from nonentity to absolute being,—wholly neither, but on the confines of both, which is the condition of its being perceptible to us. We are able to feel and use heat, because it is not entirely heat; and we see light only ...
— Atlantic Monthly Volume 6, No. 37, November, 1860 • Various

... family were from supporting the reigning head and his consort in the policy which was jeopardizing the dynasty. But the Czar's political blindness was incurable. In a kind of panic he got rid of every remaining progressive minister; a nonentity of no importance from the Czar's personal circle was made prime minister, and the real power fell to Protopopoff, the strong man of the "dark forces," who was to see their designs through, but was the first victim of the popular uprising. As minister ...
— America's War for Humanity • Thomas Herbert Russell

... say, was happy, for the life suited him exactly. He had brains and money enough to be regarded, in a certain measure, as one of their leaders, and to be looked up to as a power amongst them, and it was a weakness of his disposition that he preferred this to being a nonentity of ...
— The New Tenant • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... Artie couldn't take a fancy to some nice, appreciative, kind-hearted, practical girl like that now, instead of wearing away all the best days of his life in useless regret for that poor slender, unsubstantial nonentity of a watery little Mrs. ...
— Philistia • Grant Allen

... along there, with quilted trumpeters blaring round it, and all the world escorting it as mute or vocal flunky,—escort it not thou; say to it, either nothing, or else deeply in thy heart: "Loud-blaring Nonentity, no force of trumpets, cash, Long-acre art, or universal flunkyhood of men, makes thee an Entity; thou art a Nonentity, and deceptive Simulacrum, more accursed than thou seemest. Pass on in the ...
— Past and Present - Thomas Carlyle's Collected Works, Vol. XIII. • Thomas Carlyle

... cheek, and the loss of his scarlet woollen cap. The Norwegian, however, has to thank Heaven for a narrow escape, since the whole charge of his gun struck the tassel of his cap, and changed that memento of spousal devotion into its original nonentity. ...
— A Yacht Voyage to Norway, Denmark, and Sweden - 2nd edition • W. A. Ross

... very great number of men, women, and children, a curate must not laugh, dare not laugh—blessed indeed, and divested of the wretched rags of humanity, if he cannot laugh. None but a Bishop, or a Dean, who, in the eyes of the many, is a kind of extra-parochial nonentity, can really, in these times of severe reprobation for trifling peccadillos, afford to laugh; and they had better do it in private, and with aprons off—never before the Chapter, who all, themselves, laugh in private. Man, you know, ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 378, April, 1847 • Various

... Thuana' with all its additions passed to the Abbe Jacques-Auguste de Thou, who was soon afterwards compelled to part with it to the President Charron de Menars. St. Simon praised its new owner as a most worthy and honourable nonentity; but he had the sense to step into the breach and to save the 'Thuana' from destruction. When he sold the library to the Cardinal de Rohan, in 1706, he reserved the Collection Du Puy for his daughters. It is believed that the Cardinal, through the cleverness of ...
— The Great Book-Collectors • Charles Isaac Elton and Mary Augusta Elton

... therefore been simply fighting his battles when I pointed out what I thought to be the weak place in their present theory, and, sore as I felt in contemplation of my seemingly heartless action, I was not the unimpressionable, addle-pated nonentity I must have seemed to ...
— The Woman in the Alcove • Anna Katharine Green

... doubt the bravest cowers, When he can't tell what 'tis that doth appall. How odd a single hobgoblin's nonentity Should cause more fear than a whole host's ...
— Victor's Triumph - Sequel to A Beautiful Fiend • Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

... haven't got power over an eight-armed octopus even: so am merely a very helpless loving nonentity which merges itself most happily in you, and begs to be lifted to no pedestal at all, ...
— An Englishwoman's Love-Letters • Anonymous

... towards the new regime was not considered satisfactory, and with the cruel taunt, 'Wretch, thou didst not make a good son-in-law; how canst thou be a true friend?' Heraclius relegated him to political nonentity by forcing him to become a monk at the Chora. The new brother did not live long, but his wealth furnished the fraternity with the means for the erection of a large and ...
— Byzantine Churches in Constantinople - Their History and Architecture • Alexander Van Millingen

... had changed. Wright might have been a nonentity for all he counted. Sampson was another man—a stranger to me. If he had entertained a hope of freeing himself from his band, of getting away to a safer country, he abandoned it at the very sight of these men. There was power ...
— The Rustlers of Pecos County • Zane Grey

... turbulent broncos, each neighing for his own bin; the Senate—four score portentous clubmen, adjusting the conservative shirt-front of dignity and moderation over the license of privilege and "the interests"; the Executive—dillydallying between nonentity and the Big Stick; the Supreme Court—a handful of citizens and participators in our common human nature, magically transmuted into omniscient and omnipotent gods by certificates of appointment! And the rest of our hundred millions, in this era of new discoveries and profound ...
— The Subterranean Brotherhood • Julian Hawthorne

... of some kind has always been necessary in the world, my friend," said the Professor calmly; "Either in the shape of a deity or a king. A wood and straw Nonentity is better than an incarnated fleshly Selfishness. Will you give ...
— Temporal Power • Marie Corelli

... something that might, were our organs fine enough, be seen. Yet who had ever seen it? who could ever see it? Thus, by degrees, it passed into a Doubt, a Relation, some faint Possibility, and, at last, into a highly probably Nonentity. Following Locke's footsteps, the French had discovered that 'as the stomach secretes chyle, so does ...
— Modern Atheism under its forms of Pantheism, Materialism, Secularism, Development, and Natural Laws • James Buchanan

... the wage of our first father's blame, Daughter of envy and nonentity, Serf of the serpent, and his harlotry, Thou beast most arrogant and void of shame! Thy last great conquest dost thou dare proclaim, Crying that all things are subdued to thee, Against the Almighty raised ...
— Sonnets • Michael Angelo Buonarroti & Tommaso Campanella

... husband had cleared the board; and had rancid oil and sour wine given him, when they enjoyed the best. The slaves had snubbed him and made fun of him; the freedmen regarded him with absolute disdain; Valeria's regular visitors treated him as a nonentity. Besides, all his standards of ethical righteousness were outraged by the round of life which he was compelled daily to witness. The worthy man would long before have ceased from a vassalage so disgraceful, had he possessed any other means of support. Once ...
— A Friend of Caesar - A Tale of the Fall of the Roman Republic. Time, 50-47 B.C. • William Stearns Davis

... the great bulk of mankind, a believer in the existence of matter and evil, while Shelley so far refined upon the theory of Berkeley, as not only to resolve the whole of creation into spirit, but to add also to this immaterial system, some pervading principle, some abstract nonentity of love and beauty—of which, as a substitute at least for Deity—the ...
— My Recollections of Lord Byron • Teresa Guiccioli

... meaning of some event their vanity led them to appropriate to themselves the wisdom of their sanhedrim, and set the tone to the gossip of their respective spheres. This idle but ever busy fraternity, invisible, yet seeing all things, dumb, but perpetually talking, possessed an influence which its nonentity seemed to render harmless, though it was in fact terrible in its effects when it concerned itself with serious interests. For a long time nothing had entered the sphere of these existences so serious and so momentous ...
— The Celibates - Includes: Pierrette, The Vicar of Tours, and The Two Brothers • Honore de Balzac

... said, with a very evident attempt to recapture whatever dignity might be left on the field, 'neither Willy nor I like to see an old friend throwing himself away on a little pink and white nonentity like Daisy Stewart. We can't be expected to ...
— Missing • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... has a play called The Silent Woman, who turns out, as might be expected, to be no woman at all—nothing, as Master Slender said, but 'a great lubberly boy,' thereby, as I apprehend, discourteously presuming that a silent woman is a nonentity. If the learned dramatist, thus happily prepared and predisposed, had happened to fall in with such a specimen of female loquacity as I have just parted with, he might, perhaps, have given us a pendant ...
— The Wit of Women - Fourth Edition • Kate Sanborn

... a nonentity and a baby," was Ethelyn's mental comment, and she felt something like contempt for Frank, who, after loving and leaning on her, could so easily turn to ...
— Ethelyn's Mistake • Mary Jane Holmes

... hers by right, but of passionate grief, or dreary sense of irreparable loss, there was none in that manly heart. There were times when the widower reproached himself for this want of feeling; but in very truth Madame Lenoble, jeune, had lived and died a nonentity. Her departure left no empty place; even her children scarcely missed ...
— Charlotte's Inheritance • M. E. Braddon

... know that it is her place to leave her husband's cards for him, it is a fact that many women, otherwise attentive to social forms, habitually neglect this particular duty. The result is that the man who has not time to pay visits becomes a social nonentity, and society, in some circles, is simply a "world of women." Why does the husband, thus neglected, get out of going to the occasional party whenever he can, and when he does allow himself to be dragged thither, why ...
— Etiquette • Agnes H. Morton

... various business in the mornings, and Lady Norton, Lady Millicent, and Ormond, spent their time together: walking, driving in the sociable, or boating on the lake, they were continually together. Lady Norton, a very good kind of well-bred little woman, was a nonentity in conversation; but she never interrupted it, nor laid the slightest restraint on any one by her presence, which, indeed, was usually forgotten by Ormond. His conversation with Lady Millicent generally took a sentimental turn. She did not always speak sense, ...
— Tales & Novels, Vol. IX - [Contents: Harrington; Thoughts on Bores; Ormond] • Maria Edgeworth

... subjects. Further on he rebuked the princes for letting matters go on as if they had no concern in them, instead of advising and assisting the Emperor with all the means in their power. He knew well the pride of some of the princes, who would like to see the Emperor a nonentity and themselves the heroes and masters. Rebellion, he said, was punished in the case of the peasants; but if rebellion were punished also among princes and nobles, he fancied there would be very few of them left. He feared that the Turk would bring some such punishment upon them, ...
— Life of Luther • Julius Koestlin

... wish to sell me, father? Do you wish to give some value to this noble nonentity by the present of half a million, and will his lordship be kind enough in return to take the trifling burden of ...
— The Merchant of Berlin - An Historical Novel • L. Muhlbach

... thin neck devoid of muscles. The toothless gums chew whatever comes along. The wondering eyes look feebly, aimlessly about, without focus or concentration. The future human being, to the cold-blooded onlooker, is a useless little atom added to the human sea of nonentity. ...
— Editorials from the Hearst Newspapers • Arthur Brisbane

... that things are. Until we see the background of darkness we cannot admire the light as a single and created thing. As soon as we have seen that darkness, all light is lightening, sudden, blinding, and divine. Until we picture nonentity we underrate the victory of God, and can realize none of the trophies of His ancient war. It is one of the million wild jests of truth that we know nothing until ...
— Heretics • Gilbert K. Chesterton

... is however of no consequence. Nothing is more difficult to attain, yet nothing is more easy to describe, than a good dinner. I was once reading a very fashionable novel by a very fashionable bookseller, for the author is a mere nonentity, and was very much surprised at the accuracy with which a good dinner was described. The mystery was explained a short time afterwards, when casually taking up Eustache Eude's book in Sams's library, I found, that the author had copied it ...
— Olla Podrida • Frederick Marryat

... punishable with imprisonment is, in this language, an offence "which produces incarceration." To be starved to death is "to sink from inanition into nonentity." Sir Isaac Newton is "the developer of the skies in their embodied movements;" and Mrs. Thrale, when a party of clever people sat silent, is said to have been "provoked by the dullness of a Witurnity that, in the midst of such renowned interlocutors, produced as ...
— The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay Volume 1 • Madame D'Arblay

... aristocratic man with a 'past' to Mrs. Beaudesart; with the satisfaction of knowing that each of these was acting a part to me. Such is life, my fellow-mummers—just like a poor player, that bluffs and feints his hour upon the stage, and then cheapens down to mere nonentity. But let me not hear any small witticism to the further effect that its story is a tale told by a vulgarian, full of ...
— Such is Life • Joseph Furphy

... Afghanistan the Envoy could not look for much advice from the successive commanders of the Cabul force, even if he had cared to commune with them. Keane, indeed, did save him from the perpetration of one folly. But Cotton appears to have been a respectable nonentity. Sale was a stout, honest soldier, who was not fortunate on the only occasion which called him outside of his restricted metier. Poor Elphinstone was an object for pity ...
— The Afghan Wars 1839-42 and 1878-80 • Archibald Forbes

... being is a miracle beside which all others dwindle into absolute insignificance. But, as has often been pointed out, the process is unthinkable; the sudden apocalypse of a material world out of blank nonentity cannot be imagined; [Footnote: Professor Knight will have to reckon with the English Marriage Service, one of whose Collects begins thus: 'O God, who by thy mighty power halt made all things of nothing.] its emergence into order out of chaos when "without form ...
— Fragments of science, V. 1-2 • John Tyndall

... Letters on the Progress of Science sufficiently show that the study of geometry was almost a nonentity in England previously to the commencement of the eighteenth century. Before this period Dr. Dee, the celebrated author of the preliminary discourse to Billingsley's Euclid, had indeed resided at Manchester ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 34, June 22, 1850 • Various

... called an "Alpine hat"—and began to sing, to a slow waltz rhythm, one might not have expected much: indeed, the youth hummed audaciously with her, at first, and the other men, not one of whom was within many degrees of nonentity, beat ...
— Margarita's Soul - The Romantic Recollections of a Man of Fifty • Ingraham Lovell

... and breathless suspense, and they appeal to the artist as the conjurer of this demoniacal host. In the spiritual economy of our cultured classes art has become a spurious or ignominious and undignified need—a nonentity or a something evil. The superior and more uncommon artist must be in the throes of a bewildering nightmare in order to be blind to all this, and like a ghost, diffidently and in a quavering voice, he goes on repeating beautiful words ...
— Thoughts out of Season (Part One) • Friedrich Nietzsche

... irony, as, indeed, was the savoury in its way. After the wreck of my pleasant plans and the fiasco of my martyrdom, to be asked as consolation to spend October freezing in the Baltic with an eccentric nonentity who bored me! Yet, as I smoked my cigar in the ghastly splendour of the empty smoking-room, the subject came up again. Was there anything in it? There were certainly no alternatives at hand. And to bury myself in the Baltic at this unearthly ...
— Riddle of the Sands • Erskine Childers

... this discussion of the Negro in politics I wish to accentuate the fact that while the Negro is at present practically a political nonentity, he is yet potent, as is illustrated in various parts of the country. For example, at present there are two Negro councilmen in Chicago, two aldermen in New York, one assemblyman in New York, two councilmen in Baltimore, three Negro members ...
— The Journal of Negro History, Volume 5, 1920 • Various

... been at the works to-day," he said; and then, with a gesture of the hands and a shrug, he described Lord Ferriby as a nonentity. "He went through the works, and looked over your books. I wrote out a sort of certificate of his satisfaction ...
— Roden's Corner • Henry Seton Merriman

... about her. In the past his manliness had despised prying and peering. He had been able to bluster loyally to old Dick; he was more truthful to himself. What was she, anyway? He would not admit that he had been so completely tipped upside down in all his hale resolves, aims, and objects by a mere nonentity who looked no higher than a job as ...
— Joan of Arc of the North Woods • Holman Day

... the next day of arrests among the ladies of the Princes' party. The two Princesses of Conde were permitted to retire to Chantilly, but then the Dowager-Princess was known to be loyal, and the younger one was supposed to be a nonentity. Madame de Longueville was summoned to the Palace, but she chose instead to hide herself in a little house in the Faubourg St. Germain, whence she escaped to Normandy, her husband's Government, hoping to raise the people there to demand his release and ...
— Stray Pearls • Charlotte M. Yonge

... to be; from supposing that when it signifies to exist, and when it signifies to be some specified thing, as to be a man, to be Socrates, to be seen or spoken of, to be a phantom, even to be a nonentity, it must still, at bottom, answer to the same idea; and that a meaning must be found for it which shall suit all these cases. The fog which rose from this narrow spot diffused itself at an early period ...
— A System Of Logic, Ratiocinative And Inductive • John Stuart Mill

... after my interview with Mrs. Graham, he happened to be from home—a circumstance by no means so agreeable to me now as it had been on former occasions. Miss Millward was there, it is true, but she, of course, would be little better than a nonentity. However, I resolved to make my visit a short one, and to talk to Eliza in a brotherly, friendly sort of way, such as our long acquaintance might warrant me in assuming, and which, I thought, could neither give offence nor ...
— The Tenant of Wildfell Hall • Anne Bronte



Words linked to "Nonentity" :   unreality, nobody, cipher, squirt, void, existence, lightweight, nihility, small fry, commoner, impossibility, common person



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