Etymology
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magnitude (n.)

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.

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Definitions of magnitude

magnitude (n.)
the property of relative size or extent (whether large or small);
about the magnitude of a small pea
they tried to predict the magnitude of the explosion
magnitude (n.)
a number assigned to the ratio of two quantities; two quantities are of the same order of magnitude if one is less than 10 times as large as the other; the number of magnitudes that the quantities differ is specified to within a power of 10;
Synonyms: order of magnitude
magnitude (n.)
relative importance;
a problem of the first magnitude
From wordnet.princeton.edu