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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Now that largesse — and other spending on McGrath, including tuition reimbursement and expensive overseas travel — was the subject of an expanding probe by Maryland lawmakers. Washington Post, "Hogan’s former chief of staff implored him to back him up. Instead, Hogan publicly rebutted him.," 1 Sep. 2020 As a result, those with assets such as stocks and bonds have been the main beneficiaries of the government's largesse. Randy Charles Epping For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "It's time to raise taxes on the rich," 27 Aug. 2020 Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $60 million on House races to lock in and expand the Democratic majority, but Republicans say the largesse won't be as effective as in 2018. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Republican fundraisers say Bloomberg cash will be less effective this election cycle," 19 Aug. 2020 Many undocumented workers have depended on the largesse of church and activist organizations. Ray Sanchez, CNN, "Swept up in historic Mississippi ICE raids a year ago, these undocumented workers are now 'essential'," 9 Aug. 2020 LaPierre, who has served as the taciturn and incendiary face of the organization for more than a decade, was the recipient, and often the arbiter, of this largesse. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "New York’s Punishment May Not Fit the NRA’s Crime," 7 Aug. 2020 But, should the lives of our most vulnerable people really be dependent on the largesse of celebrities? Jada Jackson,, "As The Pandemic Rages On, Homeless Women & Children Are Facing A Dire Future," 4 Aug. 2020 According to town residents, Robert maintains a reserved but affable presence in Millbrook and its environs, using his financial largesse to support a number of local causes and small businesses. Matthew Kassel, Town & Country, "What to Know About Donald Trump's Brother Robert," 6 July 2020 But that free-spending largesse, estimated at more than $6 million in political donations alone, also bought him enemies. Justin Wingerter, The Denver Post, "Bloomberg sent well over $10 million in donations to Colorado, long before 2020," 19 Feb. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about largesse

Time Traveler for largesse

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about largesse

Statistics for largesse

Last Updated

11 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Largesse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on largesse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!