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 Enough water has passed under enough bridges that Barnett, 73, can be magnanimous about the past, present and future. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "How Gary Barnett’s CU Buffs journey came full circle: “It absolutely blows you away”," 7 Nov. 2019 Her love, compassion, and most importantly, her magnanimous spirit, will live on for generations to come. Danny Hermosillo, Houston Chronicle, "'Officer Abigail,' Freeport's famous cancer fighter who met Astros' Jose Altuve, dies at 7," 5 Nov. 2019 The soft-spoken, magnanimous child-whisperer Fred Rogers, creator of the TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, had written an article on the topic for his website. Olivia Campbell, Good Housekeeping, "I Wasn't Ready to Talk to My 3-Year-Old About Death. Then Nana's Cat Died.," 25 Sep. 2019 In its three seasons and 36 episodes, Deadwood treated viewers to a depiction of humanity at its most brutal and feral—and its most magnanimous. Lesley M. M. Blume, WSJ, "The Glorious Tragedy of “Deadwood”," 31 May 2019 But after that magnanimous day in April, Woods did…not a lot. Daniel Rapaport,, "Eight Burning Questions as the 2020 PGA Tour Season Tees Off," 10 Sep. 2019 There’s a steady rhythm to the anecdotes: His collaborators are quick to paint a magnanimous portrait of his genius and then Foster pats himself on the back detailing the backstories. Mara Reinstein, Billboard, "'David Foster: Off the Record' is More Infomercial Than Insightful Documentary," 7 Sep. 2019 The donors were generally cheerful, embracing the opportunity to feel magnanimous while being relieved, by strangers, of a burdensome chore. J. Robert Lennon, The New Yorker, "The Loop," 19 Aug. 2019 Remarks—thanking the Society’s magnanimous board members and evening’s chairs—were brief and dinner had not yet been served before partygoers got the party started. Vogue, "Inside the Preservation Society of Newport’s Annual Gala—Where Multiple Generations Partied Into the Night," 16 Aug. 2019

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

14 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Magnanimous.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on magnanimous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for magnanimous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with magnanimous

Spanish Central: Translation of magnanimous

Nglish: Translation of magnanimous for Spanish Speakers

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