The meaning and origin of the word “generosity”

1. Introduction

Generosity is a quality that has been highly valued throughout history. The great thinkers of the 16th century, such as Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, considered it one of the most important virtues. In 16th century America, the Puritans also placed a high value on generosity. They believed that it was a God-given virtue that should be cultivated in all Christians.

In the modern world, generosity is still considered a virtue, but it is often portrayed in a negative light. For example, some people view charitable giving as a way to get rid of unwanted possessions or to make themselves feel better about their own lives. Others believe that it is simply a waste of money.

The purpose of this study is to analyze the perception of generosity and to try to find out if it can be learned or if it is just an inborn character trait. The analysis will be based on the following two research questions:

– What is the meaning of generosity?
– Is generosity a learned virtue?

2. The meaning of generosity

2.1. The concept of generosity

The word “generosity” comes from the Latin word “generositas”, which means “high birth”. In other words, it originally referred to someone who was born into a wealthy or noble family. Over time, the meaning of the word changed to include other qualities, such as nobility of character, kindness, and giving.

The concept of generosity has been studied by many different scholars over the years. For example, in his book “The Virtue of Generosity”, author Michael Sherrard defines it as follows:

“Generosity is first and foremost an orientation of the heart characterized by a fundamental orientation toward giving rather than getting.”

In other words, generosity is not just about giving money or material possessions to others; it is also about giving of oneself. It is an attitude or mindset that allows us to see beyond our own needs and desires and to focus on the needs of others.

2. 2. The origin of the word “generosity”

As mentioned above, the word “generosity” comes from the Latin word “generositas”, which means “high birth”. This suggests that generosity was originally seen as something that was only available to those who were born into wealth or nobility.

However, over time the meaning of the word has changed and become more inclusive. Today, anyone can be generous, regardless of their social class or economic status. Generosity is now seen as a virtue that is available to everyone.



Generosity is the quality of being kind and giving. It is important to be generous because it helps build relationships, creates goodwill, and can make a difference in someone's life.

Being generous is important because it helps build relationships, creates goodwill, and can make a difference in someone's life. It is also a virtue that can lead to other positive qualities such as compassion and empathy.

We can learn to be more generous by practicing acts of kindness, giving to others, and volunteering our time or resources to help those in need.

Some examples of people who embody the virtue of generosity are Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey.

In order to practice generosity in our daily lives, we can perform acts of kindness such as helping a neighbor with yard work or groceries, donating money or goods to a local charity, or volunteering our time at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

The benefits of living a more generous life include feeling happier and more fulfilled ourselves, making a positive impact on those around us, and creating a ripple effect of generosity that can change the world for the better