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[mag-nif-uh-suh nt] /mægˈnɪf ə sənt/
making a splendid appearance or show; of exceptional beauty, size, etc.:
a magnificent cathedral; magnificent scenery.
extraordinarily fine; superb:
a magnificent opportunity; magnificent weather.
noble; sublime:
a magnificent poem.
(usually initial capital letter) (formerly used as a title of some rulers) great; grand:
Lorenzo the Magnificent.
lavishly munificent; extravagant:
a magnificent inheritance.
Origin of magnificent
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Middle French < Latin magnificent- (stem recorded in comparative, superlative, and other forms) for magnificus. See magnific, -ent
Related forms
magnificently, adverb
magnificentness, noun
supermagnificent, adjective
supermagnificently, adverb
Can be confused
magnificent, munificent.
1. majestic, sumptuous, opulent; exquisite, sublime.
1. modest; poor.
Synonym Study
1. Magnificent, gorgeous, splendid, superb are terms of high admiration and all are used informally in weak exaggeration. Something that is magnificent is beautiful, princely, grand, or ostentatious: a magnificent display of paintings; a magnificent view of the harbor. That which is gorgeous moves one to admiration by the richness and (often colorful) variety of its effects: a gorgeous array of handsome gifts. That which is splendid is dazzling or impressive in its brilliance, radiance, or excellence: splendid jewels; a splendid body of scholars. That which is superb is above others in, or is of the highest degree of, excellence, elegance, or (less often, today) grandeur: a superb concert; superb wines. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for magnificent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But her gowns, which are still preserved, are of magnificent stuffs.

    Home Life in Colonial Days Alice Morse Earle
  • The Reclamation Service is an experiment, a magnificent one.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • It is so magnificent that every other thing of the sort is quite lost in the comparison.

    Before and after Waterloo Edward Stanley
  • “Here is a letter for you, with a magnificent seal,” said Hester, as they entered.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • Dick watched the magnificent spectacle with thrilling pride.

    The Victim Thomas Dixon
British Dictionary definitions for magnificent


splendid or impressive in appearance
superb or very fine
(esp of ideas) noble or elevated
(archaic) great or exalted in rank or action
Derived Forms
magnificently, adverb
magnificentness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin magnificentio more splendid; irregular comparative of magnificus great in deeds; see magnific
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 magnificent

mid-15c., from Old French magnificent, a back-formation from Latin magnificentior, comparative of magnificus "great, elevated, noble, distinguished," literally "doing great deeds" (see magnificence).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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