magnum opus

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noun mag·num opus \ˈmag-nəm-ˈō-pəs\

Definition of magnum opus

  1. :  a great work; especially :  the greatest achievement of an artist or writer

magnum opus was our Word of the Day on 03/04/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of magnum opus in a Sentence

  1. His last novel was his magnum opus.

  2. this symphony is usually considered Beethoven's magnum opus

Did You Know?

You probably recognize magnum ("great") as a Latin word that shows up in altered forms in several English words, and perhaps you can also come up with a few that are related to opus ("work"). Magnitude, magnanimous, opulent, and operate are some obvious relations of the two. Magnum opus, which entered English in the late 18th century, retains the original Latin spelling and the literal meaning "great work." Although the term most often refers to literary productions, it has been used to describe many kinds of great works, including paintings, movies, construction projects, and even surgical techniques.

Origin and Etymology of magnum opus

Latin


First Known Use: 1791


MAGNUM OPUS Defined for English Language Learners

magnum opus

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noun mag·num opus \ˈmag-nəm-ˈō-pəs\

Definition of magnum opus for English Language Learners

  • : a great work : the greatest achievement of an artist or writer


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