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  1. making a splendid appearance or show; of exceptional beauty, size, etc.: a magnificent cathedral; magnificent scenery.
  2. extraordinarily fine; superb: a magnificent opportunity; magnificent weather.
  3. noble; sublime: a magnificent poem.
  4. (usually initial capital letter) (formerly used as a title of some rulers) great; grand: Lorenzo the Magnificent.
  5. lavishly munificent; extravagant: a magnificent inheritance.

Origin of magnificent

1425–75; late Middle English < Middle French < Latin magnificent- (stem recorded in comparative, superlative, and other forms) for magnificus. See magnific, -ent
Related formsmag·nif·i·cent·ly, adverbmag·nif·i·cent·ness, nounsu·per·mag·nif·i·cent, adjectivesu·per·mag·nif·i·cent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedmagnificent munificent

Synonyms for magnificent

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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.

Antonyms for magnificent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for magnificent

Contemporary Examples of magnificent

Historical Examples of magnificent

  • If he should do so, the law would compel him to return her magnificent dowry.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Solomon, the Wise, decided to provide them with a magnificent home.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • For the first six miles over most magnificent grassed country.

  • To gaze at me the field-workers suspend the magnificent lethargy of their labors.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • She was certainly, for one so young and so unprofessional, a magnificent reader.

British Dictionary definitions for magnificent


  1. splendid or impressive in appearance
  2. superb or very fine
  3. (esp of ideas) noble or elevated
  4. archaic great or exalted in rank or action
Derived Formsmagnificently, adverbmagnificentness, noun

Word Origin for magnificent

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

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