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Word of the Day: Magnanimous

Categories: GRE Vocabulary, SAT Vocabulary, Vocabulary Building Words, Vocabulary for Success, Vocabulary Improvement Tips |

Learning new words expands your vocabulary, but it also broadens your horizons and prompts you to think about things in new ways. As a form of self-improvement, vocabulary study will help you get ahead in school and at work. If you find words that describe characteristics you’d like to develop, a new vocabulary word can also help you work on cultivating new habits and getting rid of old ones. Sometimes simply having the word for something will inspire you to experience it for yourself. Today’s word is a good example of that.

The word magnanimous (mag-NAH-nih-muss) is a combination of two Latin words, magnus (“great”) and animus (“soul”). It’s obvious, then, what the word means: someone who is magnanimous has a great soul. There are several specific ways this meaning is interpreted, as illustrated by the word’s synonyms.

If I can acquire money and also keep myself modest and faithful and magnanimous, point out the way, and I will acquire it. – Greek philosopher Epicetus (55-135CE)

A person who is magnanimous is generous and giving. They’re quick to help out with charitable donations, and not inclined to hoard all their money for themselves. In this case, the word is most often used to described someone who is wealthy, but who does not hesitate to share that wealth.

Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all … It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. – American President George Washington (1732-1799CE)

A magnanimous person is also quick to understand, and is generally forgiving. They are kind-hearted and chivalrous and even though they are strong, they don’t pick on the weak, but instead help them.

But nevertheless, even in these misfortunes, nobility of the soul is conspicuous, when a man bears and digests many and great misfortunes, not from insensibility, but because he is high spirited and magnanimous. – attributed to Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322BCE)

When someone is magnanimous, they’re also generous towards themselves. Because they’re not always thinking about themselves, they’re altruistic, but because they know to treat themselves as kindly as they do others, they are also lenient and quick to forgive. They work hard on self-improvement, knowing that when they are confident and strong, they will have the strength to help people around them.

Strengthen your vocabulary, and you’ll see how easy it is to share that wealth of words with others!