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[mag-nuh m] /ˈmæg nəm/
a large wine bottle having a capacity of two ordinary bottles or 1.5 liters (1.6 quarts).
a magnum cartridge or firearm.
(of a cartridge) equipped with a larger charge than other cartridges of the same size.
(of a firearm) using such a cartridge.
Informal. unusually great in power or size:
a magnum spotlight; a magnum dosage.
Origin of magnum
1780-90; < Latin, neuter of magnus large; in reference to firearms, orig. used as a trademark by the Smith and Wesson Co. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for magnum
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is his magnum opus in literature, and exhibits wide and laborious research.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • But you must learn the dictation; the great book, the magnum opus, it is there.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • Say, Jack, how much brighter the world looks after a magnum!

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • I'll give you a dinner at the Bertolini to-night, and you may have the magnum of any vintage you like.

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • It has the punch of that .44 magnum you're presently carrying.

    Revolution Dallas McCord Reynolds
British Dictionary definitions for magnum


noun (pl) -nums
a wine bottle holding the equivalent of two normal bottles (approximately 52 fluid ounces)
Word Origin
C18: from Latin: a big thing, from magnus large
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 magnum

1788, "bottle containing two quarts of wine or spirits," from Latin magnum, neuter of magnus "great in size" (see magnate). Registered 1935 by Smith & Wesson Inc., of Springfield, Massachusetts, as the name of a powerful type of handgun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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