mag·​nan·​i·​mous | \ mag-ˈna-nə-məs How to pronounce magnanimous (audio) \

Definition of magnanimous

1 : showing or suggesting a lofty and courageous spirit the irreproachable lives and magnanimous sufferings of their followers— Joseph Addison
2 : showing or suggesting nobility of feeling and generosity of mind too sincere for dissimulation, too magnanimous for resentment— Ellen Glasgow

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Other Words from magnanimous

magnanimously adverb
magnanimousness noun

Did You Know?

When you see "anima," "animus," or a similar formation in a word, it's an indicator of something alive, lively, or spirited. Something "animated" is full of life, for example, and an "animal" is a living, breathing thing. The Latin word animus means "soul" or "spirit." In "magnanimous," that "animus" is joined by Latin magnus, meaning "great." Basically meaning "greatness of spirit," "magnanimity" is the opposite of pettiness. A truly magnanimous person can lose without complaining and win without gloating. Angry disputes can sometimes be resolved when one side makes a magnanimous gesture toward another.

Examples of magnanimous in a Sentence

"No problem," I dismissed his concerns with a magnanimous flick of the wrist. — Tom Perrotta, Joe College, 2000 … and many of them retain a respectful Eisenhower-or-Kennedy-era view of America as Japan's usually magnanimous elder brother. — James Fallows, Atlantic, August 1989 … with the off-duty cops downing them as fast as he could pour, Leery could afford to be magnanimous and play the jukebox for the boys and girls. — Joseph Wambaugh, The Delta Star, 1983 Levesque was magnanimous in victory, immediately reassuring English-speaking Quebecers that they were still welcome in the province, an integral part of its history. — Mordecai Richler, Atlantic, June 1983 She was too magnanimous to resent all the things others had said to her. a magnanimous donation to the town's animal shelter
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Recent Examples on the Web Be magnanimous in defeat and you might be remembered as a gracious loser who deserves a second look the next time around. Richard Chin Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Election quiz: Match the politician with the famous concession speech," 2 Nov. 2020 In his crude way, Trump understands a truth that more seemly public figures are innocent of: a voluntary apology, the effusion of spontaneous feeling, may be counted as magnanimous, but an extorted apology looks nerveless. David Bromwich, Harper's Magazine, "Is America Ungovernable?," 27 Oct. 2020 Don’t expect a magnanimous response from the Post’s competitors. James Freeman, WSJ, "Have the Bidens Denied the Story Yet?," 19 Oct. 2020 That's the magnanimous answer, and not untrue, but still... Dalton Ross,, "Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Jim Rice laments that South Pacific season was not 'legendary'," 1 Oct. 2020 Few topics manage to unite the masses quite like the macabre, the mysterious and the magnanimous. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, a History of Hell and Other New Books to Read," 3 Apr. 2020 The internet is magnanimous with this kind of advice. Aminatou Sow, New York Times, "The Joy of Perfecting the Sexy Selfie," 18 May 2020 Bezos’s magnanimous gift of $10 billion can buy one Gateway Tunnel. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, "$10 Billion? In This Climate??," 18 Feb. 2020 No henchmen of adversarial intelligence services or money-grubbing fraudsters are going to abide by such a magnanimous international accord—even if governments or corporations pay it lip service. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "A ‘digital ceasefire’ is unrealistic during the pandemic," 15 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'magnanimous.' 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 magnanimous

1547, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for magnanimous

Latin magnanimus, from magnus great + animus spirit — more at much, animate

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Time Traveler for magnanimous

Time Traveler

The first known use of magnanimous was in 1547

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Last Updated

7 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Magnanimous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for magnanimous


How to pronounce magnanimous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of magnanimous

formal : having or showing a generous and kind nature


mag·​nan·​i·​mous | \ mag-ˈna-nə-məs How to pronounce magnanimous (audio) \

Kids Definition of magnanimous

: generous and noble

Other Words from magnanimous

magnanimously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on magnanimous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for magnanimous

Nglish: Translation of magnanimous for Spanish Speakers

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