lar·​gesse | \ lär-ˈzhes How to pronounce largesse (audio) , lär-ˈjes How to pronounce largesse (audio) also ˈlär-ˌjes \
variants: or less commonly largess

Definition of largesse

1 : liberal giving (as of money) to or as if to an inferior a philanthropist known for his largesse also : something so given projects depending on a flow of federal largesse
2 : generosity his generosity of spirit, an absolutely natural largesse— Harvey Breit

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The word largesse, which also can be spelled "largess" (as in our second example sentence), has been part of the English language since at least the 13th century. It derives via Anglo-French from the Latin word largus, meaning "abundant" or "generous." "Largus" is also the source of our word large. As far back as the 14th century, we used the word largeness as a synonym of "largesse" ("liberal giving"). In fact, that may have been the first sense of "largeness," which has since come to refer to physical magnitude and bulk more often than to magnanimity.

Examples of largesse in a Sentence

He relied on the largesse of friends after he lost his job.
Recent Examples on the Web Masters announced after the June filing deadline but can rely upon Thiel's largesse. Alex Rogers, CNN, 17 July 2021 And the science agencies appear to be benefiting from that largesse. Science News Staff, Science | AAAS, 12 July 2021 With energy largesse flowing in, the Land of Enchantment could finally add a strong economy to its name. Paul Gessing, National Review, 9 July 2021 Silicon Valley companies and research centers could be among major beneficiaries of the largesse. Tal Kopan, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 June 2021 Even amid the largesse, the budget proposal included a warning that, long-term, the district remains on a path toward shortfalls. Howard Blume Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 24 June 2021 Indeed, Dobrik has built an ecosystem where he is surrounded by friends who are also beneficiaries of his largesse. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 23 June 2021 But businesses are dealing with an inherently temporary situation: a flood of government largesse. Arkansas Online, 10 June 2021 Again, all this largesse would be paid for out of general revenues rather than payroll taxes, meaning recipients wouldn’t need to pay taxes in before taking benefits out. Matt Weidinger, National Review, 4 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'largesse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of largesse

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for largesse

Middle English largesse, from Anglo-French, from large

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The first known use of largesse was in the 13th century

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large-toothed aspen

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Last Updated

26 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Largesse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for largesse



English Language Learners Definition of largesse

somewhat formal : the act of giving away money or the quality of a person who gives away money also : money that is given away

More from Merriam-Webster on largesse

Nglish: Translation of largesse for Spanish Speakers


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