from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that receives a benefit: I am the beneficiary of your generosity.
  • n. The recipient of funds, property, or other benefits, as from an insurance policy or will.
  • n. Ecclesiastical The holder of a benefice.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who benefits or receives an advantage.
  • n. One who benefits from the distribution, especially of an estate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Holding some office or valuable possession, in subordination to another; holding under a feudal or other superior; having a dependent and secondary possession.
  • adj. Bestowed as a gratuity.
  • n. A feudatory or vassal; hence, one who holds a benefice and uses its proceeds.
  • n. One who receives anything as a gift; one who receives a benefit or advantage; esp. one who receives help or income from an educational fund or a trust estate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Arising from feudal tenure; feudatory; holding under a feudal or other superior; subordinate: as, “beneficiary services,” ; “a feudatory or beneficiary king,”
  • Connected with the receipt of benefits, profits, or advantages; freely bestowed: as, beneficiary gifts or privileges.
  • n. One who holds a benefice.
  • n. In feudal law, a feudatory or vassal.
  • n. One who is in the receipt of benefits, profits, or advantages; one who receives something as a free gift.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the semantic role of the intended recipient who benefits from the happening denoted by the verb in the clause
  • adj. having or arising from a benefice
  • n. the recipient of funds or other benefits


Medieval Latin beneficiārius, holder of a feudal benefice, from Latin, soldier granted privileges, from beneficium, benefit; see benefice.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin bene ("well") + facio ("make") + -ary (Wiktionary)



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