Definitions

from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A great work, especially a literary or artistic masterpiece.
  • n. The greatest single work of an artist, writer, or composer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A great work of literature or art, a masterpiece.
  • n. The best, most popular, or most renowned achievement of an author or artist, representing his major life effort.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A great work of art or literature.
  • n. The greatest work or achievement of a particular artist, writer, or other individual.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a great work of art or literature

Etymologies

Latin : magnum, neuter of magnus, great + opus, work.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin magnum opusĀ ("great work"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Sorry, no example sentences found.

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • WORD: magnum opus

    EXAMPLE from Charlotte's Web:

    Next to her, attached to the ceiling, Wilbur saw a curious object. It was a sort of sac, or cocoon. It was peach-colored and looked as though it were made of cotton candy.

    "What is that nifty little thing? Did you make it? Is it a plaything?

    "Plaything? I should say not. It is my egg sac, my magnum opus."

    "I don't know what a magnum opus is," said Wilbur.

    "That's Latin," explained Charlotte. "It means 'great work.' This egg sac is my great work -- the finest thing I have ever made."

    "What's inside it? asked Wilbur. "Eggs?"

    "Five hundred and fourteen of them," she replied.

    -- 1952 E.B. WHITE. Charlotte's Web. Chapter XIX -- The Egg Sac (pages 144 - 145).

    September 28, 2013

  • This made me think of Magnum Opie... which, unfortunately, induced a fit of giggles. How sad is that?

    June 28, 2011

  • a big Irish cat.

    July 14, 2008