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

  • n. The effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind, as by charitable aid or donations.
  • n. Love of humankind in general.
  • n. Something, such as an activity or institution, intended to promote human welfare.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Benevolent altruism with the intention of increasing the well-being of mankind, especially by charitable giving.
  • n. A philanthropic act
  • n. A charitable foundation

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Love to mankind; benevolence toward the whole human family; universal good will; desire and readiness to do good to all men; -- opposed to misanthropy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Love of mankind, especially as evinced in deeds of practical beneficence and endeavors for the good of one's fellows.
  • n. Synonyms Philanthropy, Charity. Originally these words were the same, meaning the love of fellow-man, a sense which philanthropy retains, but charity (except in Biblical language: see 1 Cor. xiii., authorized version) has lost. Each expresses both spirit and action; but philanthropy cannot be applied to a concrete act, while charity may; hence we speak of a charity, but not of a philanthropy; on the other hand, as a spirit, philanthropy looks upon human welfare as a thing to be promoted, especially by preventing or mitigating actual suffering, while charity, outside of Biblical usage, is simply disposed to take as favorable a view as possible of the character, conduct, motives, or the like, of a fellow-man. As activity, charity helps men individually; philanthropy helps the individual as a member of the race, or provides for large numbers. Philanthropy agitates for prison-reform and the provision of occupation for released convicts; charity gives a released convict such personal help as he needs.

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

  • n. voluntary promotion of human welfare


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

Late Latin philanthrōpia, from Greek, from philanthrōpos, humane, benevolent : phil-, philo-, philo- + anthrōpos, man, mankind.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin philanthropia, from Ancient Greek. The prefix phil- comes from Ancient Greek φίλος (philos, "friend"), from the verb φίλω (philo, "I like, I love"). -anthropy comes from the noun ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos, "man; human").


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