gen·​er·​ous ˈje-nə-rəs How to pronounce generous (audio)
: liberal in giving : openhanded
a generous benefactor
: marked by abundance or ample proportions
wide overhangs and generous verandasLewis Mumford
: copious
a thin salt-and-pepper moustache interrupted by a generous noseRichard Zabel
: characterized by a noble or kindly spirit : magnanimous, kindly
a generous heart
archaic : highborn
generously adverb
generousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for generous

liberal, generous, bountiful, munificent mean giving or given freely and unstintingly.

liberal suggests openhandedness in the giver and largeness in the thing or amount given.

a teacher liberal with her praise

generous stresses warmhearted readiness to give more than size or importance of the gift.

a generous offer of help

bountiful suggests lavish, unremitting giving or providing.

children spoiled by bountiful presents

munificent suggests a scale of giving appropriate to lords or princes.

a munificent foundation grant

Examples of generous in a Sentence

The school raised the money through donations from generous alumni. He was generous with both his time and his money. She has always been very generous toward the poor. This restaurant is known for its generous portions. a generous helping of mashed potatoes She has a generous heart. He has generous sympathy for unemployed workers. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Addiction, by its very nature, blocks one’s ability to be honest with themselves and others, be consistent, deliver on promises, be emotionally generous and considerate of another person’s needs, be accountable when wrong, and show up every day willing to work at a relationship. Shon Faye, Vogue, 24 Nov. 2023 Getty Images The season of giving is going to be especially generous this year, according to a new survey from Deloitte. Bychris Morris, Fortune, 21 Nov. 2023 Free shipping and generous return policies are an expensive way to do business—an e-commerce return for a $50 product costs retailers an average of $33, according to a recent estimate by the reverse-logistics firm Narvar. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 21 Nov. 2023 Be sure to pile a generous amount of the pillowy whipped topping on top of the pie, using your spatula to create those signature swoops. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 20 Nov. 2023 Public sentiment at the time was that Ehud Barak had made an extremely generous offer, which Yasir Arafat rejected, responding with violence. Emily Bazelon, New York Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Are the greedy boy and the generous tree a model of parasitic (or symbiotic) co-dependency? Roxana Popescu, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Nov. 2023 If these cake balls are the only dessert, counting on 3 to 4 per person is a generous amount. Pam Lolley, Southern Living, 11 Nov. 2023 The warrant also inquired about Mr. Adams’s campaign’s use of New York City’s generous public matching program, in which New York City offers an eight-to-one match of the first $250 of a resident’s donation. Michael Rothfeld, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'generous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French or Latin; Middle French genereus, from Latin generosus, from gener-, genus

First Known Use

1583, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of generous was in 1583

Dictionary Entries Near generous

Cite this Entry

“Generous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


gen·​er·​ous ˈjen-(ə-)rəs How to pronounce generous (audio)
: free in giving or sharing
: abundant
a generous supply
generously adverb
generousness noun

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