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[mag-neyt, -nit] /ˈmæg neɪt, -nɪt/
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.
Origin of magnate
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
Related forms
magnateship, noun
Can be confused
magnate, magnet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for magnate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then, as a new thought came to the magnate, he spoke with a trace of anxiety.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Then he dropped to a seat on the couch, and proceeded to make his confidences to the magnate.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • The magnate, red-faced and angry, returned with him to the station.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • The boy grinned bashfully and opined the magnate just mentioned was "all right."

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • He was dressed like a magnate who was also a person of taste.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • All was conducted as if for the funeral of a magnate of Hungary.

    That Boy Of Norcott's Charles James Lever
  • The two men who completed the prau's crew followed him into that magnate's campong.

British Dictionary definitions for magnate


/ˈmæɡneɪt; -nɪt/
a person of power and rank in any sphere, esp in industry
(history) a great nobleman
(formerly) a member of the upper chamber in certain European parliaments, as in Hungary
Derived Forms
magnateship, noun
Word Origin
C15: back formation from earlier magnates from Late Latin: great men, plural of magnās, from Latin magnus great
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for magnate

mid-15c., "great man, noble, man of wealth," from Late Latin magnates, plural of magnas "great person, nobleman," from Latin magnus "great, large, big" (of size), "abundant" (of quantity), "great, considerable" (of value), "strong, powerful" (of force); of persons, "elder, aged," also, figuratively, "great, mighty, grand, important," from PIE *mag-no-, from root *meg- "great" (cf. Sanskrit maha-, mahat- "great;" Greek megas, fem. megale "great, large;" Gothic mikils, Old English micel "great, big, many;" see mickle).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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