Definition of Magnificat in English:



  • The hymn of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:46–55) used as a canticle in Christian liturgy, especially at vespers and evensong.

    • ‘That afternoon the congregation would also get to hear a brand new work - the largest Bach had produced in Leipzig so far - a Magnificat for five vocal parts, trumpets, timpani, recorders, oboes, strings and continuo.’
    • ‘The choir of St Martin in the Fields, led by organist and choirmaster, Nick Dankswill, will sing both the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis.’
    • ‘Before a chorus could sing the Magnificat, Bach had to write it.’
    • ‘These are the seminal texts of the tradition: the Lord's Prayer, the Magnificat, the Benedictus.’
    • ‘I would love to find the exact quote, but apparently somewhere Dietrich Bonhoeffer called the Magnificat the most passionate, wildest, most revolutionary Advent hymn ever sung.’


Middle English: Latin, literally ‘magnifies’ (from the opening words, which translate as ‘my soul magnifies the Lord’).