fbpx

What is the origin of noetic?

Noetic, “relating to the mind; originating in or comprehended by the reason,” is very common in all genres of Greek literature, but especially in Platonic, Aristotelian, and Neoplatonic philosophy. The word comes straight from the Greek adjective noētikós “intellectual,” a derivative of the noun nóēsis “thought, intelligence.” Nóēsis is a derivative of the verb noeîn, which in turn comes from the noun noûs, the Attic Greek contracted variant of general Greek nóos “mind, sense, intellect” (Attic Greek, the dialect of Attica, whose capital was Athens, was the basis for Koine or standardized Greek after the late 4th century). As with about 60 percent of ancient Greek vocabulary, there is no convincing etymology for noûs, nóos. In colloquial British usage, nous (rhyming with mouse, not with moose) also means “common sense, practical intelligence.” Noetic entered English in the middle of the 17th century.