Origin: 1425–75; late Middle English Related forms
< Middle French
< Latin magnificent-
(stem recorded in comparative, superlative, and other forms) for magnificus.
Can be confused: magnificent, munificent
(see synonym study at the current entry).
1. majestic, sumptuous, opulent; exquisite, sublime. Magnificent, gorgeous, splendid, superb are terms of high admiration and all are used informally in weak exaggeration. Something that is magnificent is beautiful, princely, grand, or ostentatious: a magnificent display of paintings; a magnificent view of the harbor. That which is gorgeous moves one to admiration by the richness and (often colorful) variety of its effects: a gorgeous array of handsome gifts. That which is splendid is dazzling or impressive in its brilliance, radiance, or excellence: splendid jewels; a splendid body of scholars. That which is superb is above others in, or is of the highest degree of, excellence, elegance, or (less often, today) grandeur: a superb concert; superb wines.
1. modest; poor.