Definition of magnanimous
- the irreproachable lives and magnanimous sufferings of their followers
- —Joseph Addison
- too sincere for dissimulation, too magnanimous for resentment
- —Ellen Glasgow
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She was too magnanimous to resent all the things others had said to her.
a magnanimous donation to the town's animal shelter
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.
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.
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