American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The state or quality of being kind, charitable, or beneficial.
- n. A charitable act or gift.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The practice of doing good; active goodness, kindness, or charity.
- n. A benefaction; a beneficent act or gift. Synonyms Benevolence, Beneficence, Bounty, Liberality, Generosity, Munificence, Charity. Benevolence, literally well-wishing, is expressive of the disposition to do good; hence it easily came to be applied to charitable gifts. Beneficence, literally well-doing, is the outcome and visible expression of benevolence. It is a strong though general word for active and abundant helpfulness to those who are in need. Benevolence may exist without the means or opportunity for beneficence, but beneficence always presupposes benevolence. Bounty is expressive of kind feeling, but more expressive of abundant giving. Liberality is giving which is large in proportion to the means of the giver. Generosity adds to the notion of liberality that of largeness or nobleness of spirit in connection with the gift. Munificence is giving on a large scale, not restricting itself to necessary things, but giving lavishly; it is the one of these words most likely to be applied to ostentatious or self-seeking liberality, but not necessarily so. Charity, while having the best original meaning, has come to be a general word; as to gifts, it is what is bestowed upon the poor or needy, but not always with warm or kindly feelings: as, official charity.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The practice of doing good; active goodness, kindness, or charity; bounty springing from purity and goodness.
- n. doing good; feeling beneficent
- n. the quality of being kind or helpful or generous
- Latin beneficentia, from beneficus, beneficent-, benefic; see benefic. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The term beneficence connotes acts of mercy, kindness, and charity, and is suggestive of altruism, love, humanity, and promoting the good of others.”
“Unless the real recipient of the foundation's beneficence is capitalism itself, which will now teach even poets a good lesson in the imperatives of market discipline?”
“The issue of religious oppression vs. beneficence is simply not one to be battled in the statistics, because the numbers clearly and unequivocally side with the caring, not the hateful.”
“Enjoin beneficence and forbid malevolence: so shalt thou be loved of”
“ONE of the first lessons we learned at Hull-House was that private beneficence is totally inadequate to deal with the vast numbers of the city's disinherited.”
“I am afraid," said the lady, "that this Madame Milin's beneficence is a good deal exaggerated; but come with me, and I will take care of you.”
“And may'st thou, stranger to ostentation, and superior to insolence, with true greatness of soul shine forth conspicuous only in beneficence!”
“He loves me, reverend father, "and a transient glow passed o'er the sallow, cheek of the religieux; 'with all the energy of his grateful nature loves me, for what he terms the beneficence of charity, what I term the bare impulse of duty.”
“His heart is naturally beneficent, and his beneficence is the gift of God for the most excellent purposes, as”
“Not from Miss Ainley's own lips did Caroline hear of her good works; but she knew much of them nevertheless; her beneficence was the familiar topic of the poor in Briarfield.”
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Vocab. from "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris
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