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

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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 That was a more magnanimous answer, maybe, than the one Kelly gave five days earlier when the subject was raised. Mike Berardino, Forbes, 19 Sep. 2021 To consider Kanye and consider his sound alone is to miss the point of his mad, magnanimous project. Jason Parham, Wired, 17 Sep. 2021 On a sympathy visit after the tragedy, his magnanimous landlord, Mr. Vincent, tells him not to worry about the next month’s rent. Teju Cole, The New Yorker, 10 Aug. 2021 Fieri has reportedly been feeling magnanimous there, even leaving a $5,000 tip at a Miami Beach restaurant earlier this week. Chloe Sorvino, Forbes, 23 May 2021 He’s even magnanimous about the time a nearby resident threatened the encampment with gun. Frank Shyong Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2021 That song became a pop phenomenon, and was boosted to the No. 1 slot via a remix by, yes, the magnanimous and savvy BTS. New York Times, 17 Feb. 2021 Kaunda’s last years Kaunda won kudos abroad for what was considered to be his gracious response to electoral defeat, but the new government was less magnanimous. Gavin Evans, Quartz, 17 June 2021 Bourdain is, unsurprisingly, often his own best explainer - a magnetic, magnanimous presence with little filter and seemingly even less preciousness about himself. Leah Greenblatt,, 12 June 2021

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

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The first known use of magnanimous was in 1547

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Magnanimous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce magnanimous (audio) \

Kids Definition of magnanimous

: generous and noble

Other Words from magnanimous

magnanimously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on magnanimous

Nglish: Translation of magnanimous for Spanish Speakers


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