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magnum opus

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noun mag·num opus \ˈmag-nəm-ˈō-pəs\

Simple Definition of magnum opus

  • : a great work : the greatest achievement of an artist or writer

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of magnum opus

  1. :  a great work; especially :  the greatest achievement of an artist or writer

Examples of magnum opus in a sentence

  1. His last novel was his magnum opus.

  2. <this symphony is usually considered Beethoven's magnum opus>



Did You Know?

You probably recognize magnum ("great") as a Latin word that shows up in altered forms in several English words, and perhaps you can also come up with a few that are related to opus ("work"). Magnitude, magnanimous, opulent, and operate are some obvious relations of the two. Magnum opus, which entered English in the late 18th century, retains the original Latin spelling and the literal meaning "great work." Although the term most often refers to literary productions, it has been used to describe many kinds of great works, including paintings, movies, construction projects, and even surgical techniques.

Origin of magnum opus

Latin


First Known Use: 1791


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