from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Something that promotes or enhances well-being; an advantage.
  • noun Help; aid.
  • noun A payment made by a government agency or insurance company to qualifying persons in time of need.
  • noun A form of compensation, such as paid vacation time, subsidized health insurance, or a pension, provided to employees in addition to wages or salary as part of an employment arrangement.
  • noun A public entertainment, performance, or social event held to raise funds for a person or cause.
  • noun Archaic A kindly deed.
  • intransitive verb To be helpful or useful to.
  • intransitive verb To derive benefit.
  • idiom (benefit of the doubt) A favorable judgment granted in the absence of full evidence.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To do good to; be of service to; advantage: as, exercise benefits health; trade benefits a nation.
  • Same as beneficiate, 2.
  • To gain advantage; make improvement: as, he has benefited by good advice.
  • noun A thing well done; a good deed.
  • noun An act of kindness; a favor conferred; good done to a person.
  • noun Advantage; profit; concretely, anything that is for the good or advantage of a person or thing; a particular kind of good receivable or received.
  • noun Bestowal, as of property, office, etc., out of good will, grace, or favor; liberality; generosity.
  • noun A performance at a theater or other place of public entertainment, the proceeds of which go to one or more of the actors, some indigent or deserving person, some charitable institution, or the like. In Great Britain also called a bespeak.
  • noun A natural advantage; endowment; accomplishment.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To gain advantage; to make improvement; to profit.
  • transitive verb To be beneficial to; to do good to; to advantage; to advance in health or prosperity; to be useful to; to profit.
  • noun An act of kindness; a favor conferred.
  • noun Whatever promotes prosperity and personal happiness, or adds value to property; advantage; profit.
  • noun A theatrical performance, a concert, or the like, the proceeds of which do not go to the lessee of the theater or to the company, but to some individual actor, or to some charitable use.
  • noun obsolete Beneficence; liberality.
  • noun rare Natural advantages; endowments; accomplishments.
  • noun (Law) See under Clergy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An advantage, help or aid from something.
  • noun A payment made in accordance with an insurance policy or a public assistance scheme.
  • noun A performance, etc, given to raise funds for some cause.
  • verb transitive To be or to provide a benefit to.
  • verb intransitive To receive a benefit (from). To be a beneficiary.

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

  • noun financial assistance in time of need
  • noun a performance to raise money for a charitable cause
  • verb derive a benefit from
  • verb be beneficial for
  • noun something that aids or promotes well-being


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

[Middle English, from Old French bienfait, good deed, from Latin benefactum, from benefacere, to do a service; see benefaction.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Middle English benefytt, benefett, alteration (due to Latin bene-) of Middle English benfet, bienfet, bienfait ("good or noble deed"), from Anglo-Norman benfet ("well-done"), Middle French bienfait, from Old French bienfet, bienfait ("foredeal, favour"), from past participle of Old French bienfaire ("to do good, do well"), from bien ("well") + faire ("to do"), modelled after Latin benefactum ("good deed"). More at benefactor.


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