largesse

noun
lar·​gesse | \lär-ˈzhes, lär-ˈjes 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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Did You Know?

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

But the largesse has dried up under Maduro, who has tried to compensate by giving top-ranking officers an even bigger slice of power. Washington Post, "Empty stomachs drive Venezuela soldiers to desert in droves," 18 May 2018 Political Obstacles With big hurdles standing in the way of that unprecedented political penalty, the idea of linking EU budget largesse to sound national justice systems has gained ground since surfacing in Germany and picking up French support. Bloomberg.com, "President Trump Speaks at CPAC," 23 Feb. 2018 One of the biggest recipients of Dougherty’s continued largesse is Wolf, whose 2018 reelection campaign is seen as a must-win for Democrats. Andrew Seidman, Philly.com, "Philly labor leader John 'Johnny Doc' Dougherty, under federal scrutiny, raises more campaign money than ever," 15 Apr. 2018 Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio promised a shift back to government largesse. Bloomberg.com, "Five Star Plans to Boost Public Spending: Italy Campaign Trail," 1 Mar. 2018 Without Venezuela’s largesse, Mr Ortega can no longer maintain the public spending that kept dissent at bay. The Economist, "The violent end of Daniel Ortega’s decade of quiet," 26 Apr. 2018 The bag could contain anything—a lucky gift of largesse, a biro, an apron, chilli sauce, a copy of next month’s gossip magazine. A.a. Gill, A-LIST, "Fraught, But It Counts," 4 July 2018 Jordan can no longer count on Gulf largesse, like a $5bn grant offered in the first days of the Arab Spring in 2011. The Economist, "Jordan’s King Abdullah tries to calm an angry public," 6 June 2018 Leonard is eligible for a five-year, $219 million extension this offseason, a largesse only the Spurs can offer him. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Spurs aim to hang onto Leonard — for now," 22 June 2018

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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Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for largesse

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

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More Definitions for largesse

largesse

noun

English Language Learners Definition of largesse

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on largesse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for largesse

Spanish Central: Translation of largesse

Nglish: Translation of largesse for Spanish Speakers

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