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Words of the day — largesse

Good morning, Netizens...

February 02, 2013

Words of the Day

  • largesse
  • audio pronunciation
  • \larh-ZHESS\


: liberal giving (as of money) to or as if to an inferior; also : something so given
: generosity

Thanks to their grandparents' largesse, both children were able to go to college.

"Just how heavily a borrower may rely on family largess to cover a down payment depends on the type of mortgage involved and the size of the gift. With a conventional loan, lenders require that borrowers contribute at least 5 percent of their own money." — From an article by Lisa Prevost in New York Times, January 2, 2013


The word "largesse," which also can be spelled "largess" (as in our second example sentence), has been part of the English language since at least the 13th century. It derives via Anglo-French from the Latin word "largus," meaning "abundant" or "generous." "Largus" is also the source of our word "large." As far back as the 14th century, we used the word "largeness" as a synonym of "largesse" ("liberal giving"). In fact, that may have been the first sense of "largeness," which has since come to refer to physical magnitude and bulk more often than to magnanimity.

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.