lar·​gesse | \ lär-ˈzhes How to pronounce largesse (audio) , lär-ˈjes also ˈlär-ˌjes How to pronounce largesse (audio) \
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

Charlotte is the unexpected entrant in the race, a wildcard bid fueled by Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper’s billions and a growing market in an empty spot on the map brimming with corporate largesse. Brian Straus,, "MLS in Advanced Expansion Discussions With St. Louis, Other Markets," 31 July 2019 This highlights a larger trend on the 2020 campaign trail: Democratic candidates are blasting the corporate greed and largesse of the tech industry, while still cashing checks from Silicon Valley to fuel their campaigns in a competitive field. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Pete Buttigieg's status as Silicon Valley darling may complicate his gig economy crusade," 30 July 2019 The dances span the group’s nearly four decades, each bearing the company’s trademarks: a voluptuous largesse of movement anchored by a very fine unity with the music. Janine Parker,, "An intensely joyful performance from Mark Morris Dance Group at Jacob’s Pillow," 18 July 2019 Research funding is second only to that of the United States, and the largesse is bearing fruit: The number of papers that Chinese scientists published in major journals rose 17 percent from 2016 to 2018. Manuel Canales And Sean Mcnaughton, National Geographic, "See which countries fund the most scientific research," 17 June 2019 No matter that the largesse is being funded by increased gas taxes, higher driver’s license and plating fees, expanded gambling, taxes on soon-to-be legal marijuana purchases and raising online taxes, among other revenue enhancements. Charles Selle, Lake County News-Sun, "Selle: If state is doling out ‘free’ money, we want our share," 12 June 2019 Every dime of largesse that the American soccer federation now enjoys can, in some way, be traced to the apple-seeding done by the women's team. Sally Jenkins,, "The US women’s national team is an American treasure. Pay them a bounty.," 12 June 2019 This largesse appears to have helped at least set a floor... Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Oracle’s Pockets Aren’t Deep Enough," 21 Mar. 2019 Even Google, for all its innovation-minded largesse, shies away from writing such big checks. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Why 'Moon Shot' Has No Place in the 21st Century," 16 July 2019

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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Statistics for largesse

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

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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



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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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

Comments on largesse

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


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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