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

  • adj. Of a kind and gentle disposition.
  • adj. Showing gentleness and mildness. See Synonyms at kind1.
  • adj. Tending to exert a beneficial influence; favorable: a policy with benign consequences for the economy. See Synonyms at favorable.
  • adj. Having little or no detrimental effect; harmless: a chemical additive that is environmentally benign.
  • adj. Medicine Of no danger to health; not recurrent or progressive; not malignant: a benign tumor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Kind; gentle; mild.
  • adj. Not posing any serious threat to health; not particularly aggressive or recurrent.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of a kind or gentle disposition; gracious; generous; favorable; benignant.
  • adj. Exhibiting or manifesting kindness, gentleness, favor, etc.; mild; kindly; salutary; wholesome.
  • adj. Of a mild type or character.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of a kind disposition; gracious; kind; benignant; favorable.
  • Proceeding from or expressive of gentleness, kindness, or benignity.
  • Favorable; propitious: as, benign planets.
  • Genial; mild; salubrious: applied to weather, etc.
  • Mild; not severe; not violent; not malignant: used especially in medicine: as, a benign medicine; a benign disease.

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

  • adj. kindness of disposition or manner
  • adj. pleasant and beneficial in nature or influence
  • adj. not dangerous to health; not recurrent or progressive (especially of a tumor)


Middle English benigne, from Old French, from Latin benignus; see genə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Via French from Latin benignus ("kind, good"), from bonus ("good") + genus ("origin, kind"). Compare malign. (Wiktionary)



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  • And I love the word, benignity. But I do not like the word, benighted.

    August 9, 2008