Merriam Webster Word of the Day: Magnanimous

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The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is magnanimous. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Magnanimous is a formal word that means “having or showing a generous and kind nature.”

// She was too magnanimous to resent the unkind words of those grousing about her winning the spelling bee.

MAGNANIMOUS in Context

“[Former Olympic champion, Mark] Spitz was in a three-day period between his finals, the last of which was a full day off. At the routine Thursday night press conference for medal winners, Spitz asked to be excused from questions so the spotlight could play on his three relay teammates ‘because this is their first gold medal.’ … It was a wonderfully magnanimous gesture, but I knew from past interviews that winning the 100-meter butterfly that night was much bigger to him than he was indicating…” — Bob Hammel, The Herald-Times (Bloomington, Indiana), 4 Sept. 2022

Did You Know?

When you see animaanimus, or a similar formation in a word, it’s often an indicator of something alive, lively, or spirited. Something described as animated is full of life, for example, and the word animal refers to a living thing. The Latin word anima means “breath” or “soul” and animus means “spirit.” In magnanimousanimus is joined by the Latin word magnus, meaning “great.” Basically meaning “greatness of spirit,” magnanimity is the opposite of selfishness. A truly magnanimous person can lose without complaining and win without gloating, and angry disputes can sometimes be resolved when one side makes a magnanimous gesture toward the other.

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