large, great

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.

"Magn" the Magnificent

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


  • magnate

    A magnate is a rich and powerful person in an industry or business.

  • magnanimity

    If someone exhibits magnanimity towards another, they show them kindness and noble generosity, especially after defeating them in battle or after having been treated badly by them.

  • magnitude

    The magnitude of something is its size or importance.

  • magnificent

    Something that is magnificent is wonderful or really great.

  • Charlemagne

    French for Carolus Magnus—notable king of the Franks and emperor of the West

  • magnanimous

    noble and generous in spirit

  • magnification

    the act of expanding something in apparent size

  • magnificence

    splendid or imposing in size or appearance

  • magnifier

    a scientific instrument that magnifies an image

  • magnify

    increase in size, volume or significance

  • magniloquence

    high-flown style

  • magnum

    a large wine bottle for liquor or wine

Related Word Parts

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.