From Latin magnanimus, from magnus (great) + animus (soul, mind). Displaced native Old English miċelmōd (literally big-minded).



magnanimous (comparative more magnanimous, superlative most magnanimous)

  1. Noble and generous in spirit.
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, The Famous Historie of Troylus and Cresseid. [] (First Quarto), London: [] G[eorge] Eld for R[ichard] Bonian and H[enry] Walley, [], published 1609, OCLC 951696502, [Act II, scene ii]:
      She is a theame of honour and renowne, / A ſpurre to valiant and magnanimous deeds, / Whoſe preſent courage may beate downe our foes, / And fame in time to come canonize us, []
    • 1913, George Bernard Shaw, “Act V”, in Pygmalion:
      DOOLITTLE [sad but magnanimous] They played you off very cunning, Eliza, them two sportsmen.
    • 1923, Walter de la Mare, Seaton's Aunt
      I felt vaguely he was a sneak, and remained quite unmollified by advances on his side, which, in a boy's barbarous fashion, unless it suited me to be magnanimous, I haughtily ignored.
    Synonyms: big-hearted, generous, great-hearted, large-hearted, unselfish

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