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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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 Two of us waste no time assembling and attacking the largesse, one of many incentives to reserve a table, preferably outside, at the upstart Moon Rabbit at the Wharf. Washington Post, "At Moon Rabbit, chef Kevin Tien lures fans to the Wharf," 20 Nov. 2020 But like John Quincy Adams, Roosevelt is a visionary bent on progress, expanding science and technology and using the government’s largesse to raise up the poor, immigrant and Black Americans. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Streaming presidents and love stories keeping San Diego theater fans busy," 26 Oct. 2020 The recipients of all this big tech largesse naturally deny that these financial entanglements influence their findings in any way. Zephyr Teachout, The New Republic, "A Blueprint for a Trust-Busting Biden Presidency," 18 Dec. 2020 On the downside of the CARES Act largesse was Montgomery Regional Airport, which ranked No. 191 in enplanements last year with 194,990. al, "No layoffs, no furloughs: Alabama airports hold on despite aviation industry COVID struggles," 8 Dec. 2020 Still, what most observers probably don’t realize is that this debate is in some sense moot: Government is simply funneling its largesse toward private charities anyway, and politicizing the nonprofit world to an unprecedented degree in the process. James Piereson, National Review, "Give to Charity over Political Campaigns," 6 Dec. 2020 While Federal Reserve largesse and $3 trillion of federal stimulus helped fuel a torrid five-month rally that began in March, their limitations have become clear as the virus continues to spread. Vildana Hajric,, "Worsening Virus Trends Are Raising Alarms for Stock Investors," 24 Sep. 2020 And the technology and production laboratories seeded with the help of all this federal largesse could give rise to other profitable vaccines and drugs. Arthur Allen, Scientific American, "For Billion-Dollar COVID Vaccines, Basic Government-Funded Science Laid the Groundwork," 18 Nov. 2020 Forty years after Hilton's passing, the foundation continues to parcel out his largesse to worthy organizations around the world. Liz Cantrell, Town & Country, "Forty Years After Conrad N. Hilton's Death, His Foundation Is Still Giving," 22 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for largesse

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Largesse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for largesse


How to pronounce largesse (audio) How to pronounce largesse (audio)

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

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Nglish: Translation of largesse for Spanish Speakers

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