mid-14c., "great-mindedness, courage," from Old French magnificence "splendor, nobility, grandeur," from Latin magnificentia "splendor, munificence," from stem of magnificus "great, elevated, noble, eminent," also "splendid, rich, fine, costly," literally "doing great deeds," from magnus "great" (from PIE root *meg- "great") + combining form of facere "to make, to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").
Meaning "greatness of appearance or character, grandeur, glory" in English is from late 14c. That of "beauty, splendor, wealth" is 15c. As one of the Aristotelian and scholastic virtues, it translates Greek megaloprepeia "liberality of expenditure combined with good taste."
It forms all or part of: acromegaly; Almagest; Charlemagne; maestro; magisterial; magistral; magistrate; Magna Carta; magnate; magnitude; magnum; magnanimity; magnanimous; magni-; Magnificat; magnificence; magnificent; magnify; magniloquence; magniloquent; Magnus; maharajah; maharishi; mahatma; Mahayana; Maia; majesty; major; major-domo; majority; majuscule; master; maxim; maximum; may (v.2) "to take part in May Day festivities;" May; mayor; mega-; megalo-; mickle; Mister; mistral; mistress; much; omega.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Armenian mets "great;" Sanskrit mahat- "great, mazah- "greatness;" Avestan mazant- "great;" Hittite mekkish "great, large;" Greek megas "great, large;" Latin magnus "great, large, much, abundant," major "greater," maximus "greatest;" Middle Irish mag, maignech "great, large;" Middle Welsh meith "long, great."
mid-15c., splendoure, "radiance, brilliance, source of magnificence or excellence," from Old French esplendour, Anglo-French esplendour (Old French splendeur, splendor, 12c.) and directly from Latin splendor "brilliance, brightness," from splendere "be bright, shine" (see splendid).
"valued possessions, money, property, abundance of means, state of having large or valuable possessions," modified from richesse (c. 1200), a singular form misunderstood as a plural, from Old French richesse, richece "wealth, opulence, splendor, magnificence," from riche (see rich (adj.)). The Old French suffix -esse is from Latin -itia, added to adjectives to form nouns of quality (compare fortress). The spelling shift was evident by 15c.
c. 1400, "pre-eminence, magnificence;" early 15c., "greatness of size or extent," from Latin magnitudo "greatness, bulk, size," from magnus "great" (from suffixed form of PIE root *meg- "great") + -tudo, suffix forming abstract nouns from adjectives and participles (see -tude).
Meaning "size, extent," whether great or small is from early 15c. Of stars, "brightness or brilliancy expressed as a number" (now on a logarithmic scale) from 1640s, translating Ptolemy's Greek megethos.
c. 1200, gloire "the splendor of God or Christ; praise offered to God, worship," from Old French glorie "glory (of God); worldly honor, renown; splendor, magnificence, pomp" (11c., Modern French gloire), from Latin gloria "fame, renown, great praise or honor," a word of uncertain origin.
The etymology as *gnoria "knowledge, fame" to gnarus "known" and i-gnorare has been acknowledged by some scholars, and rejected by others. In its favour speak the semantics of words for "glory", which in Indo-European societies mostly have to do with "spoken praise", "reputation by hearsay". Against the assumed etymology speak the phonetics. [de Vaan]
Meaning "one who is a source of glory" is from mid-14c. Also in Middle English "thirst for glory, vainglory, pride, boasting, vanity" (late 14c.), Sense of "magnificence" is late 14c. in English. Meaning "worldly honor, fame, renown." Latin also had gloriola "a little fame." Glory days was in use by 1970. Old Glory for "the American flag" is first attested 1862.
The Christian senses are from the Latin word's use in the Bible to translate Greek doxa "expectation" (Homer), later "an opinion, judgment," and later still "opinion others have of one (good or bad), fame; glory," which was used in Biblical writing to translate a Hebrew word which had a sense of "brightness, splendor, magnificence, majesty of outward appearance." The religious use has colored that word's meaning in most European tongues. Wuldor was an Old English word used in this sense.
late 14c., "characterized by exaggerated self-importance or an ostentatiously dignified style," from Old French pompos (14c., Modern French pompeux) and directly from Late Latin pomposus "stately, pompous," from Latin pompa "pomp" (see pomp). More literal (but less common) meaning "characterized by magnificence and dignity" is attested from early 15c. In 15c. it also could mean "fierce, formidable." Related: Pompously; pompousness.