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adjective be·nev·o·lent \bə-ˈnev-lənt, -ˈne-və-\

Simple Definition of benevolent

  • : kind and generous

  • : organized to do good things for other people

Full Definition of benevolent

  1. 1 a :  marked by or disposed to doing good <a benevolent donor> b :  organized for the purpose of doing good <a benevolent society>

  2. 2 :  marked by or suggestive of goodwill <benevolent smiles>

be·nev·o·lent·ly adverb
be·nev·o·lent·ness noun

Examples of benevolent

  1. Trees that size are like whales, sort of benevolent in their huge bulk … —Sebastian Junger, This Old House, March/April 1998

  2. Grandfather sometimes turned on us like a rigged trap, and of course the benevolent gaze of the sage became the glare of the patriarch. —Darryl Pinckney, High Cotton, 1992

  3. They tore out the windows of the club's simple storefront and bricked them over and left two much smaller windows … so that the look of the club changed from that of a benevolent neighborhood organization to that of a paramilitary one. —“The Talk of the Town” ,New Yorker26 Feb. 1990

  4. A Southern writer is allowed his eccentricities. The prevailing attitude is a kind of benevolent neglect. —Walker Percy, “Why I Live Where I Live,” 1980, in Signposts in a Strange Land, 1991

  5. a gift from a benevolent donor

  6. He belonged to several benevolent societies and charitable organizations.

Origin of benevolent

Middle English, from Latin benevolent-, benevolens, from bene + volent-, volens, present participle of velle to wish — more at will

First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with benevolent

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up benevolent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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