- Particularly bountiful or kind in one's offering
- An especially plentiful amount given
Have you ever been given a gift so generous that you were stunned? This is the kind of gift that is no mere token of thanks or appreciation, but so greatly exceeding your expectations that you can't help but take it as a genuine sign of respect, admiration, or compassion. What you received was not just a gift but a munificent gesture.
Munificent is used to describe a gift as lavish or very generous, or characterize a person as charitable or philanthropic. When applied to people, munificent generally casts a positive light on the subject, as in the case of a billionaire donating a large sum of money to a charity event or cause. In such an instance, the gift itself is also seen as a sign of the giver's sense of compassion, and not simply an obligatory or cynical show of public service; munificent gifts are a rare and sincere gesture of empathy for which the receiver expresses great thanks. Key to the understanding of munificent is that it may be used to describe people who are liberal with their money for others rather than for themselves, a notion which attaches to it a kind of purity.
Example: J.K. Rowling was so munificent in her philanthropy that she actually had to be removed from Forbes's list of billionaires!
Example: I wrote a note thanking my grandfather for the munificent gift he gave me for my birthday.
Munificent has roots as far back as the 15th century. The word may have come from "munificence," a term initially derived from Middle French. Another important ancestor of munificent was the Latin "munificentia," meaning "generosity." Other Latin terms that may have contributed to its meaning include "munificentior" and "munificus," both of which translate roughly to "generous," and "munus," meaning "a service" or "a gift."
Munificence: The noun form of munificent, munificence is the quality of being generous or bountiful in amount.
Example: Jack White's munificence saved the Masonic Temple Theatre in Detroit from going bankrupt.
Munificently: This is the adverb form of munificent, which describes the action of generously giving.
Example: The angel donor munificently offered to cover the remainder of the non-profit's budget shortfall.
From Saint Thomas Aquinas's Commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
Because every munificent person is liberal, it does not follow that every liberal person is munificent.
Here, munificent is shown to be similar to, but not necessarily interchangeable with, the word "liberal." After all, someone who enjoys great wealth can just as easily use their liberal spending power for personal gains instead of charity.
- Be a munificent giver and others will find you magnificent!
Bring out the linguist in you! What is your own interpretation of munificent. Did you use munificent in a game? Provide an example sentence or a literary quote.