"Magn" the Magnificent


Quick Summary

The Latin root word magn means “great.” This root word is the origin of numerous English vocabulary words, including magnificent, magnitude, and magnanimous. An easy way to remember that magn means “great” is through the word magnifying glass, which makes something small “great” in size.

The Latin root word magn means “great.”

Everyone has used a magnifying glass, which makes something small “great” in size so as to be seen more easily. Telescopes use the same principle of magnification, or the making of something small and far away “great” and therefore more visible. Speaking of celestial objects, the magnitude of a star is how intense or “great” its brightness is, just like the magnitude of a problem is how “great” in scope it is.

Someone who is magnanimous has a “great” soul, so is both generous and noble. When something is magnificent, it is “great” in some way. Speaking of being “great,” the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne had a Latin name as well, which was Carolus Magnus, or Charles the “Great.”

There are a few common Latin phrases today that use the Latin adjective magnus, “great.” When your grade point average is between a 3.50 and 3.74 at graduation, you are said to graduate magna cum laude, or with “great” praise. A musician’s greatest work is her magnum opus, or singular “great” work. Probably one of the greatest legal documents of all time was Magna Carta, or “Great” Charter.

And the word magnum itself, which is a form of the Latin adjective which means “great,” today refers to how “great” the size of a gun bullet is, such as .357 or .44.

The magnitude of your vocabulary has now become magnified since you’ve learned that the English root word magn means “great.”

  1. magnifying glass: glass with makes a small object ‘great’ in size
  2. magnification: act of making something ‘great’ in size
  3. magnitude: ‘greatness’ of size
  4. magnificent: of something that is made ‘great’
  5. magnanimous: of one who possesses a ‘great’ soul
  6. Charlemagne: Charles the ‘Great’
  7. magna cum laude: with ‘great’ praise
  8. Magna Carta: ‘Great’ Charter
  9. magnum: indicates ‘greatness’ of a bullet’s size

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