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[mag-nan-uh-muh s] /mægˈnæn ə məs/
generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness:
to be magnanimous toward one's enemies.
high-minded; noble:
a just and magnanimous ruler.
proceeding from or revealing generosity or nobility of mind, character, etc.:
a magnanimous gesture of forgiveness.
Origin of magnanimous
1575-85; < Latin magnanimus great-souled, equivalent to magn(us) magn- + anim(us) spirit, soul, mind + -us -ous
Related forms
magnanimously, adverb
magnanimousness, noun
unmagnanimous, adjective
unmagnanimously, adverb
unmagnanimousness, noun
1. big, liberal, unspiteful. 2. See noble. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for magnanimous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yet it was but modesty and respect in the author, not to bring so magnanimous a hero on the scene, to speak bad poetry.

    The Grecian Daughter Arthur Murphy
  • But then, when it came to a show-down she might not be so magnanimous as she had appeared tonight.

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • But he was in too exhilarated a condition to be magnanimous.

    The Man Upstairs P. G. Wodehouse
  • There was a sting in that thought, too; but he struggled to be magnanimous.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • And yet he had said dozens, only I was magnanimous and forgave him.

    Uncle Max Rosa Nouchette Carey
British Dictionary definitions for magnanimous


generous and noble
Derived Forms
magnanimously, adverb
magnanimousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin magnanimus great-souled
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 magnanimous

1580s, a back-formation from magnanimity + -ous, or else from Latin magnanimus "highminded," literally "great-souled" (see magnanimity). Related: Magnanimously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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