"quality of giving or bestowing liberally or lavishly," early 15c., from Old French munificence, from Latin munificentia "bountifulness, liberality, generosity," from stem of munificus "generous, bountiful, liberal," literally "present-making," from munus "gift or service; function, task, duty, office" (see municipal) + unstressed stem of facere "to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put").
"very liberal in giving or bestowing," 1580s, back-formation from munificence, or else from Latin munificent-, stem of munificus "bountiful, liberal, generous," literally "present-making," from munus "gift or service; function, task, duty, office" (see municipal). Latin munificare meant "to enrich." Related: Munificently.
also largess, "willingness to give or spend freely; munificence," c. 1200, from Old French largesse, largece "a bounty, munificence," from Vulgar Latin *largitia "abundance" (source also of Spanish largueza, Italian larghezza), from Latin largus "abundant, large, liberal" (see large). In medieval theology, "the virtue whose opposite is avarice, and whose excess is prodigality" [The Middle English Compendium]. For Old French suffix -esse, compare fortress. Related: Largation.
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."
late 13c., "a gift, a reward, a favor bestowed freely;" c. 1300, "goodness, virtue; beauty; ; excellence; knightly prowess, strength, valor, chivalry," early 14c., "a helpful act, an act of generosity, a good deed," also "liberality in giving, generosity, munificence," from Anglo-French bountee, Old French bonte "goodness" (12c., Modern French bonté), from Latin bonitatem (nominative bonitas) "goodness," from bonus "good" (see bonus).
Sense of "gift bestowed by a sovereign or the state" led to extended senses of "premium or gratuity to a military recruit" (1702) and "reward for killing or taking a criminal or enemy" (1764) or dangerous animal (1847). Bounty-jumper "one who enlists in the military, collects the bounty, and flees without reporting for duty" is from the American Civil War (by 1864). Bounty-hunter is from 1893, American English, originally in reference to wild animals.
I do ... promise, that there shall be paid ... the following several and respective premiums and Bounties for the prisoners and Scalps of the Enemy Indians that shall be taken or killed .... ["Papers of the Governor of Pennsylvania," 1764]