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[mag-nif-i-kat, -kaht; mahg-nif-i-kaht, mahn-yif-]
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  1. (italics) the hymn of the Virgin Mary in Luke, 1:46–55, beginning “My soul doth magnify the Lord,” used as a canticle at evensong or vespers.
  2. a musical setting for this.

Origin of Magnificat

1150–1200; Middle English < Latin: (it) magnifies (from the first word of the hymn)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for magnificat


  1. Christianity the hymn of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:46-55), used as a canticle

Word Origin

from the opening phrase in the Latin version, Magnificat anima mea Dominum (my soul doth magnify the Lord)
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

Word Origin and History for magnificat



c.1200, from Latin third person singular of magnificare (see magnificence), from first words of the Virgin's hymn (Luke i:46, in Vulgate Magnificat anima mea dominum "My soul doth magnify the Lord") used as a canticle.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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