(in French history). An assembly of nobles or notable men, selected by the king, of the House of Valois, to form a parliament. They were convened in 1626 by Richeheu, and not again till 1787 (a hundred and sixty years afterwards), when Louis XVI. called them together with the view of relieving the nation of some of its pecuniary embarrassments. The last time they ever assembled was November 6th 1788.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
More on Notables from Fact Monster: