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adjective mag·nan·i·mous \mag-ˈna-nə-məs\

Simple Definition of magnanimous

  • : having or showing a generous and kind nature

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of magnanimous

  1. 1 :  showing or suggesting a lofty and courageous spirit <the irreproachable lives and magnanimous sufferings of their followers — Joseph Addison>

  2. 2 :  showing or suggesting nobility of feeling and generosity of mind <too sincere for dissimulation, too magnanimous for resentment — Ellen Glasgow>

magnanimously adverb
magnanimousness noun

Examples of magnanimous in a sentence

  1. “No problem,” I dismissed his concerns with a magnanimous flick of the wrist. —Tom Perrotta, Joe College, 2000

  2. … and many of them retain a respectful Eisenhower-or-Kennedy-era view of America as Japan's usually magnanimous elder brother. —James Fallows, Atlantic, August 1989

  3. … with the off-duty cops downing them as fast as he could pour, Leery could afford to be magnanimous and play the jukebox for the boys and girls. —Joseph Wambaugh, The Delta Star, 1983

  4. Levesque was magnanimous in victory, immediately reassuring English-speaking Quebecers that they were still welcome in the province, an integral part of its history. —Mordecai Richler, Atlantic, June 1983

  5. She was too magnanimous to resent all the things others had said to her.

  6. <a magnanimous donation to the town's animal shelter>

Did You Know?

When you see "anima," "animus," or a similar formation in a word, it's an indicator of something alive, lively, or spirited. Something "animated" is full of life, for example, and an "animal" is a living, breathing thing. The Latin word animus means "soul" or "spirit." In "magnanimous," that "animus" is joined by Latin magnus, meaning "great." Basically meaning "greatness of spirit," "magnanimity" is the opposite of pettiness. A truly magnanimous person can lose without complaining and win without gloating. Angry disputes can sometimes be resolved when one side makes a magnanimous gesture toward another.

Origin of magnanimous

Latin magnanimus, from magnus great + animus spirit — more at much, animate

First Known Use: 1567

Rhymes with magnanimous

MAGNANIMOUS Defined for Kids


adjective mag·nan·i·mous \mag-ˈna-nə-məs\

Definition of magnanimous for Students

  1. :  generous and noble

magnanimously adverb

Word Root of magnanimous

The Latin word anima, meaning “breath” or “spirit,” gives us the root anim. Words from the Latin anima have something to do with having breath or spirit. An animal is a living creature that breathes and can move around on its own. To animate something is to give it breath or life. Someone magnanimous has a courageous spirit.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up magnanimous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

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