Definitions

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

Etymologies

Late Latin philanthrōpia, from Greek, from philanthrōpos, humane, benevolent : phil-, philo-, philo- + anthrōpos, man, mankind.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • TinaTheriault Alpha Chi Omega philanthropy event:) casino night, dinner, and auctions! tvwells Just finished up a great session on The Rockefeller Foundation's vision and strategy with @ianwilhelm @philanthropy.

    Gaea Times (by Simple Thoughts) Breaking News and incisive views 24/7

  • This duty does not exclude the possibility of corporate philanthropy, although the word philanthropy used in the context of profit maximization is misleading.

    Creative Capitalism

  • While the pecuniary ele - ment in philanthropy, both in concept and practice, was always an essential and sometimes the central emphasis, the term philanthropy was used in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in both

    PHILANTHROPY

  • Under apartheid, the term "philanthropy" was often associated with white missionaries and churches.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • Yes, it means a re-think of the way we give, but it promises to truly lift up lives in these hard times and bring us back to the true definition of the word 'philanthropy,' which literally means "the love of humanity."

    Melanie Lundquist: Time to Change the Way We Give

  • "The word 'philanthropy' brings up an image of somebody who's had an illustrious career, has retired and is giving to highly established institutions that may or may not have ivy growing up their walls," she says.

    NYT > Home Page

  • "We certainly didn't have the confidence in philanthropy that we did in business when we first started," said Mr. Buffett of himself and Mr. Gates.

    Gates, Buffett Discuss Charity with China's Wealthy

  • We brought out a demographic and a crowd that has never been involved in philanthropy in Pakistan.

    A Hand for Pakistan

  • A hundred years ago, we called philanthropy "charity," and it looked very much like human connection.

    Suzanne Skees: The Real Motivation Behind Going Public in Philanthropy

  • Maybe state directed philanthropy is next for “sustainable economic development.”

    Matthew Yglesias » The End of Influence

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