noun \ˈwel-ˌfer\

: a government program for poor or unemployed people that helps pay for their food, housing, medical costs, etc.

: the state of being happy, healthy, or successful

Full Definition of WELFARE

:  the state of doing well especially in respect to good fortune, happiness, well-being, or prosperity <must look out for your own welfare>
a :  aid in the form of money or necessities for those in need
b :  an agency or program through which such aid is distributed

Examples of WELFARE

  1. He wants to do away with welfare.
  2. I have your welfare at heart.
  3. The welfare of all the orphans was at stake.
  4. She donates to organizations concerned about animal welfare.

Origin of WELFARE

Middle English, from the phrase wel faren to fare well
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Sociology Terms

bourgeois, ethos, eugenics, exurb, incommunicado, intelligentsia, megalopolis, metrosexual, mores, subculture



Definition of WELFARE

:  of, relating to, or concerned with welfare and especially with improvement of the welfare of disadvantaged social groups <welfare legislation>
:  receiving public welfare benefits <welfare families>

First Known Use of WELFARE


Other Sociology Terms

bourgeois, ethos, eugenics, exurb, incommunicado, intelligentsia, megalopolis, metrosexual, mores, subculture


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of a variety of governmental programs that provide assistance to those in need. Programs include pensions, disability and unemployment insurance, family allowances, survivor benefits, and national health insurance. The earliest modern welfare laws were enacted in Germany in the 1880s (see social insurance), and by the 1920s and '30s most Western countries had adopted similar programs. Most industrialized countries require firms to insure workers for disability (see workers' compensation) so that they have income if they are injured, whether temporarily or permanently. For disability from illness unrelated to occupational injury, most industrial states pay a short-term benefit followed by a long-term pension. Many countries pay a family allowance to reduce the poverty of large families or to increase the birth rate. Survivor benefits, provided for widows below pension age who are left with a dependent child, vary considerably among nations and generally cease if the woman remarries. Among the world's wealthy countries, only the U.S. fails to provide national health insurance other than for the aged and the poor (see Medicare and Medicaid).

Variants of WELFARE

welfare or social welfare


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