mag·​nan·​i·​mous | \mag-ˈna-nə-məs \

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

But real-life Jamil's intentions are far more magnanimous. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Jameela Jamil Wants to Upend the "Body Positivity" Movement," 26 Sep. 2018 Brazil manager Tite was magnanimous in defeat after his side's 2-1 loss to Belgium in their FIFA World Cup quarter-final in Kazan on Friday., "Brazil Manager Full of Praise for Belgium After 'Painful' World Cup Exit," 7 July 2018 There are few people in the world James admires more than Magic Johnson, who had always been magnanimous toward him. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "How LeBron James Was Courted by the Lakers," 2 July 2018 Someone that big and athletic, that skilled and intelligent, that magnanimous on the basketball court was unheard of. Dan Grunfeld,, "LeBron James's Only Underrated Attribute: His Character," 11 June 2018 Gareth Southgate, the English team’s mild-mannered, magnanimous manager, has no such problem. Sean Williams, The New Republic, "England’s World Cup Team: the Anti-Brexit," 10 July 2018 Yet, his measured, magnanimous words have caught the world’s attention. Brett Bruen, Time, "Donald Trump Has Successfully Cleaned Up North Korea's Brand," 12 June 2018 What was a lifetime highlight for most for us who were there that night was probably just another Tuesday for our charming, magnanimous host. Leah Greenblatt,, "Remembering Anthony Bourdain: EW's unforgettable night out with the late chef and television host," 8 June 2018 The opposition has been less magnanimous towards the HDP, which was not invited to join the alliance. The Economist, "Turkey’s opposition scents success against Erdogan," 2 June 2018

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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Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for magnanimous

The first known use of magnanimous was in 1547

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More Definitions for magnanimous



English Language Learners Definition of magnanimous

: having or showing a generous and kind nature


mag·​nan·​i·​mous | \mag-ˈna-nə-məs \

Kids Definition of magnanimous

: generous and noble

Other Words from magnanimous

magnanimously adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on magnanimous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with magnanimous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for magnanimous

Spanish Central: Translation of magnanimous

Nglish: Translation of magnanimous for Spanish Speakers

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