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 Çağatay Ulusoy portrays our trash-picking hero as a de facto father figure to the many street children in his run-down neighborhood of Istanbul, destitute and sick yet rich in magnanimous spirit. Charles Bramesco, Vulture, "Checking In on Netflix’s Original Movies: March 2021 Edition," 23 Mar. 2021 The school whose lunch debt was paid by a magnanimous nine-year-old? Kiran Misra, The New Republic, "Death to the Inspirational News Story," 12 Feb. 2021 A day later, after his 16-point fourth quarter helped the Spurs overcome a 16-point deficit against Minnesota, DeRozan was even more magnanimous about the fall of his Raptors record. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "As an old record falls, DeMar DeRozan continues with his San Antonio Spurs second act," 5 Feb. 2021 While his results were definitive and not in their favor, his conclusion was magnanimous. New York Times, "Bryan Sykes, Who Saw the Ancient Past in Genes, Dies at 73," 6 Jan. 2021 Later in the autumn, some of our deepest and darkest secrets could be spilled around the November 19 Lunar Eclipse as the Sun, Moon, and Mercury square magnanimous Jupiter. Athena Antares,, "Your Love Horoscope For 2021 Is Here," 3 Jan. 2021 In his address, Trump adopted a steady tone and role of magnanimous leader, looking out for his country. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Trump uses White House address to blame fraud for election defeat," 2 Dec. 2020 Without a formal movement, petition or hashtag, folks are turning this year’s stunted celebration into a magnanimous gesture. Washington Post, "A small Thanksgiving felt impossible for some people. So they’re sharing their dinners with the homeless.," 26 Nov. 2020 The donation was deemed to be a magnanimous and moving gesture, suitable to the spirit of the holiday. Maurizio Valsania, The Conversation, "How George Washington used his first Thanksgiving as president to unite a new country," 23 Nov. 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

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Magnanimous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for magnanimous



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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