Words related to *meg-


Scandinavian masc. proper name, popular with early kings, the first to use it was Magnus I, king of Norway and Denmark (d. 1047), who evidently took it in emulation of Charlemagne (Latin Carolus Magnus) under the impression that magnus (Latin, literally "great," from PIE root *meg- "great") was a personal name.

maharajah (n.)

also maharaja, a title born by some Indian princes who ruled extensive realms, 1690s, from Hindi, "great king," from Sanskrit maha "great" (from PIE root *meg- "great") + rajan "king" (see rajah). The fem. equivalent is maharani (1855).

maharishi (n.)
Hindu sage or holy man, 1785, from Sanskrit, from maha "great" (from PIE root *meg- "great") + rishi "inspired sage." In general use, a title for a popular spiritual leader.
mahatma (n.)

title applied to an adept in Brahmanism, literally "great-souled," from Sanskrit mahatman, from maha "great" (from PIE root *meg- "great") + atman, "soul, principle of life," properly "breath" (see atman). In esoteric Buddhism, "a person of supernatural powers." In common use, as a title, a mark of love and respect. Said to have been applied to Gandhi (1869-1948) in 1915, perhaps by poet Rabrindranath Tagore. The earliest use of the word in English, however, is among the theosophists, who applied it to certain imaginary beings with preternatural powers (1884).


type of Buddhism practiced in northern Asia, 1868, from Sanskrit, from maha "great" (from PIE root *meg- "great") + yana "vehicle" (from PIE root *ei- "to go").

Roman goddess of fertility, Latin Maia, literally "she who brings increase," from PIE *mag-ya- "she who is great" (suffixed form of root *meg- "great"). Maia, one of the Pleiades, is from Greek Maia, daughter of Atlas, mother of Hermes, literally "mother, good mother, dame; foster-mother, nurse, midwife," said by Watkins to be from infant babbling (see mamma).
majesty (n.)

c. 1300, mageste, "greatness or grandeur of exalted rank or character, imposing loftiness, stateliness, qualities appropriate to rulership," from Old French majeste "grandeur, nobility" (12c.), from Latin maiestatem (nominative maiestas) "greatness, dignity, elevation, honor, excellence," from stem of maior (neuter maius), comparative of magnus "great, large, big" (of size), "abundant" (of quantity), "great, considerable" (of value), "strong, powerful" (of force); of persons, "elder, aged," also, figuratively, "great, mighty, grand, important," from suffixed form of PIE root *meg- "great."

Earliest English use is with reference to God or Christ; as a title of address or dignity to kings and queens (late 14c.), it is from Romance languages and originated in the Roman Empire.

major (adj.)

c. 1300, majour, "greater, more important or effective, leading, principal," from Latin maior (earlier *magios), irregular comparative of magnus "large, great" (from PIE root *meg- "great"). From 1590s as "greater in quantity, number, or extent." Used in music (of modes, scales, or chords) since 1690s, on notion of an interval a half-tone "greater" than the minor; of modern modes, "characterized by the use of major tonality throughout," by 1811. Major league, in baseball, is attested by 1892.

major-domo (n.)

also majordomo, "man employed to superintend a household, especially that of a sovereign or other dignitary," 1580s, via Italian maggiordomo or Spanish mayordomo, from Medieval Latin major domus "chief of the household," also "mayor of the palace" under the Merovingians, from Latin maior "greater" (see major (adj.)) + genitive of domus "house" (from PIE root *dem- "house, household").

majority (n.)

1550s, "state or condition of being greater, superiority"(a sense now obsolete), from French majorité (16c.), from Medieval Latin majoritatem (nominative majoritas) "majority," from Latin maior "greater" (see major (adj.)).

Sense of "state of being of full age, age at which the law permits a young person to manage his own affairs," is attested from 1560s. The meaning "greater number or part, more than half of the whole" (of votes, etc.) is by 1690s; that of "the excess of one of two groups of enumerated votes over the other" is by 1743. The majority "the dead" recorded from 1719; hence euphemistic verbal phrase join the majority.

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