[mag-neyt, -nit]
a person of great influence, importance, or standing in a particular enterprise, field of business, etc.: a railroad magnate.
a person of eminence or distinction in any field: literary magnates.
a member of the former upper house in either the Polish or Hungarian parliament.

1400–50; back formation from Middle English magnates (plural) < Late Latin magnātēs leading people, equivalent to Latin magn(us) magn- + -ātēs, plural of -ās noun suffix

magnateship, noun

magnate, magnet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
magnate (ˈmæɡneɪt, -nɪt)
1.  a person of power and rank in any sphere, esp in industry
2.  history a great nobleman
3.  (formerly) a member of the upper chamber in certain European parliaments, as in Hungary
[C15: back formation from earlier magnates from Late Latin: great men, plural of magnās, from Latin magnus great]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1430, "great man, noble, man of wealth," from L.L. magnates, pl. of magnas (gen. magnatis) "great person, nobleman," from L. magnus "great," from PIE *mag-no-, from base *meg- "great" (cf. Skt. maha-, mahat- "great," Gk. megas, fem. megale "great, large," Goth. mikils, O.E. micel "great, big, many").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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