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I'm looking for a noun that means "something that is notable or noteworthy". It seems like the word "notable" itself should suffice, but according to Dictionary.com, the noun form of the word obsolete:

  1. Obsolete. a notable fact or thing.

Given that there doesn't seem to be a great replacement, I'm wondering why the word (i.e. the noun form) would ever have become obsolete. Is there another word I can use instead?

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  • 3
    Only that particular use (definition 6) has become obsolete, not the word "notable" itself
    – NVZ
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 20:30
  • A standout ????
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 21:46
  • Or something that is green. Or angry. Or soft. Or any number of other adjectives...
    – Drew
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 23:51
  • @roryap ah - I read your question wrong, sorry. I'll delete my comment. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 12:42
  • @MaxWilliams -- Thanks, I edited the question anyway to make it clearer that I'm referring to the noun form.
    – rory.ap
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 12:43

4 Answers 4

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I'm sorry, my definition search failed. But the word I would use to represent things I thought were notable, or worthy of recognition is

icon

"The Apple IIe is an icon of innovation in the computer age."

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Consider notabilia, defined here as "matters, events, or items worthy of note."

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The problem may be more with insisting that the concept of importance be inherent in the noun rather than in an adjective applied to a noun. I think you are right, that there is no good replacement, though Silenius offers a functional one. We use more specific terms in certain contexts (soul, essence, key, core, center, keystone, etc.), but I think one could argue that we are clearest in our communication when we use an adjective to denote why a particular noun is notable or noteworthy.

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Consider phenomenon.

ODO:

phenomenon NOUN

2A remarkable person, thing, or event.

‘The exhibition pays tribute to Godzilla as cultural phenomenon rather than mere pop icon.’

‘One of the most remarkable economic phenomena over the past few years has been the emergence of Internet business.’

Synonyms: marvel, sensation, wonder, prodigy, miracle, rarity, nonpareil, curiosity, spectacle

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