magnum opus was our Word of the Day on 03/04/2014. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of magnum opus in a Sentence
His last novel was his magnum opus.
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
First Known Use: 1791See Words from the same year
magnum opus Synonyms
Synonymschef d'oeuvre, classic, masterpiece, masterwork
Related Wordsmasterstroke, pièce de résistance, showpiece, tour de force; blockbuster, megahit, smash, success, winner; gem, jewel, prize, treasure
Near Antonymsbomb, catastrophe, clunker, debacle (also débâcle), disaster, dud, failure, fiasco, fizzle, flop, loser, turkey, washout
MAGNUM OPUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of magnum opus for English Language Learners
: a great work : the greatest achievement of an artist or writer
Learn More about magnum opus
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for magnum opus
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