magnum opus

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Latin magnum opus (great work).[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

magnum opus (plural magna opera or magnum opuses or magnum opi)

  1. A great or important work of literature, music or art, a masterpiece.
    The 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is widely considered to be George Orwell's magnum opus.
  2. The best, most popular, or most renowned achievement of an author or artist, representing their major life effort.

Usage notes[edit]

Examples of magnum opus: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes and In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust.

The Latin plural magna opera may be preferred in some academic and literary contexts, in popular usage the English-style plural magnum opuses is more common. The plural magnum opi, although rare and likely regarded as incorrect in formal works, does see some use.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language [Fourth Edition]