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[jen-er-uh s] /ˈdʒɛn ər əs/
liberal in giving or sharing; unselfish:
a generous patron of the arts; a generous gift.
free from meanness or smallness of mind or character; magnanimous.
large; abundant; ample:
a generous portion of pie.
rich or strong in flavor:
a generous wine.
fertile; prolific:
generous soil.
Origin of generous
1580-90; < Middle French généreux < Latin generōsus of noble birth, equivalent to gener- (see gender2) + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
generously, adverb
generousness, noun
overgenerous, adjective
overgenerously, adverb
quasi-generous, adjective
quasi-generously, adverb
supergenerous, adjective
supergenerously, adverb
1. open-handed, free, unstinting. Generous, charitable, liberal, bountiful, munificent all describe persons who give to others something of value, or the acts of such persons. Generous stresses the warm and sympathetic nature of the giver: a generous gift; generous in praise of the work of others. Charitable places stress on both the goodness and kindness of the giver and the indigence or need of the receiver: charitable assistance to the needy; a charitable person, always willing to help those less fortunate than herself. Liberal, in this connection, emphasizes the size of the gift, the largesse and openhandedness of the giver: a liberal contribution to the endowment fund. Bountiful implies effusive, unstinted giving and a sense of abundance or plenty: bountiful and unrestricted support for the museum; a bountiful return for his efforts. Munificent refers to gifts or awards so large and striking as to evoke amazement or admiration: a life income, a truly munificent reward for his loyalty; a munificent contribution, larger by far than any other. 2. high-minded, noble, big. 3. plentiful, copious. 5. fruitful.
1. selfish. 2. mean. 3. meager. 5. barren. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for generous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was a shrewd child and a generous one when her sympathies were aroused.

    Chicken Little Jane Lily Munsell Ritchie
  • He looked absently at the sandwich, and bit a generous semicircle into it.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • In fact the donors, considering their circumstances, were generous.

    History of Linn County Iowa Luther A. Brewer
  • But he was a generous man and all meanness of spirit was foreign to his soul.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • This strong emotion, however, had its spring in no generous source.

    The Cock and Anchor Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
British Dictionary definitions for generous


/ˈdʒɛnərəs; ˈdʒɛnrəs/
willing and liberal in giving away one's money, time, etc; munificent
free from pettiness in character and mind
full or plentiful: a generous portion
(of wine) rich in alcohol
(of a soil type) fertile
Derived Forms
generously, adverb
generousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: via Old French from Latin generōsus nobly born, from genus race; see genus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for generous

1580s, "of noble birth," from Middle French généreux, from Latin generosus "of noble birth," figuratively "magnanimous, generous," from genus (genitive generis) "race, stock" (see genus). Secondary senses of "unselfish" (1690s) and "plentiful" (1610s) were present in French and in Latin. Related: Generously; generousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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