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DaphneT's avatar

What does the word Magna mean, as in Magna Carta?

Asked by DaphneT (5681 points ) January 26th, 2013

Can anyone help me? I don’t have a good sense of this word. What does it derive from? What does it mean in the title Nestleton Magna? This happens to be a book title. Why would the word ‘magna’ have been used in such a fashion?

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10 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

It means “great”. Can’t say about the book, since I have never heard of it. Was he a possible great person?

gailcalled's avatar

It’s Latin. Carta is “charter” and happens to be a feminine noun (an arbitrary convention).

Thus the adjective “great” that modifies it becomes “magna.” The masculine form is “magnus.”.

The expression “magnum opus” means “great work” and is used in its Latin form all the time.

Cervantes’ magnum opus was Don Quixote.

“Nesleton Magna” appears to be a book written in the late 19th century by James Jackson Wray and is a story of Yorkshire Methodism. My research becomes murky when I push further.

Google “Yorkshire Methodism” for essays on that subject. There may be something buried in there.

bookish1's avatar

Great, as in Great Charter.
Dang, @gailcalled beat me to it again ;)

A magnum is a great lot of champagne. But a Jeroboam is even greater!

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gailcalled's avatar

^^^ Hehehe. Lava carta?

Here’s a facsimile of the intro to the book.

I am guessing, from the content, that “Nestleton Carta” is the name of a Yorkshire village, which can be very odd. This must be Great Nestleton, implying that there is a Small Nestleton also. From the preface:

“In this book I have sought to present a faithful picture of village Methodism…I have had, for more years than I care to count, an intimat knowledge of Methodist rural life.

I just found, as an example, two parishes in York, England, known as Upper Poppleton and Nether Poppleton.

And the Thorntons; “Thornton (West Yorkshire), Thornton (East Riding of Yorkshire), Thornton Dale, Thornton-in-Craven, Thornton in Lonsdale, Thornton-le-Clay, Thornton-le-Moor, Thornton-le-Street, Thornton Rust, Thornton Steward, Thornton Watlass.”

Please, stop me, somepme/

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gailcalled's avatar

edit; ...an intimate knowledge of Methodist rural life.”
...someone

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DaphneT's avatar

Thanks for putting it into an understandable context. Would you say a case of mixing Latin with the English name Nestleton? It just doesn’t roll off the tongue like Magna Carta or magnum opus.

gailcalled's avatar

@DaphneT: Rural English hamlets and villages have notoriously eccentric names. They roll off the tongues of the inhabitants, I expect.

For another example, see the Wallops. “Nether Wallop is a village in central Hampshire, England. It is part of The Wallops: Nether, Middle and Over Wallop. The name derives from ‘waella’ and ‘hop’ or ‘the valley of springing water’.”

“Zeal Monachorum” is another village that means “cell of the monk” when translated from the Latin.

Google “English towns with funny names,” as I just did.

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