ben·​e·​fac·​tor | \ ˈbe-nə-ˌfak-tər How to pronounce benefactor (audio) \

Definition of benefactor

: someone or something that provides help or an advantage : one that confers a benefit a benefactor of humankind especially : a person who makes a gift or bequest His endowments … placed him high among the benefactors of the convent. — Jane Austen a wealthy benefactor

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Did You Know?

A benefactor may be involved in almost any field. One may endow a scholarship fund; another may give money to expand a library; still another may leave a generous sum to a hospital in her will. The famous benefactions of John D. Rockefeller included the gifts that established the University of Chicago, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Rockefeller University. Many benefactors have reported that giving away their money turned out to be the most rewarding thing they ever did.

Examples of benefactor in a Sentence

With the help of a rich benefactor he set up a charity. an anonymous benefactor gave the school a dozen new computers

Recent Examples on the Web

Philanthropies deal constantly with smaller-time benefactors making expensive, time-consuming, and entitled requests. Dan Duray, Town & Country, "When Is a High-Maintenance Donor Not Worth the Trouble?," 20 May 2019 Advertising After Trump secured the Republican nomination, McMahon became one of his most generous benefactors. Catherine Lucey, The Seattle Times, "Linda McMahon to exit role at Small Business Administration," 29 Mar. 2019 While Trump was reportedly busy accepting millions in donations, Castro was appealing to what his camp estimates was a crowd of 600 supporters and potential benefactors. Xorje Olivares, Teen Vogue, "Why the Accent Over Julián Castro's Name Matters," 23 Apr. 2019 Rex Sinquefield didn’t set out to become the benefactor who would change American chess. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "‘They Are Indeed Buying Nerds!’ Chess World Questions an American Grandmaster’s Move—to the U.S.," 19 Nov. 2018 This fundraising party was to honor Marie and Barry Lipman, zoo benefactors whose Lipman Family Madagascar Center is set to open in 2019. Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, "Gauhati gives a lesson at SF ZooFest," 2 May 2018 The former anchorman will be replaced by Linda McMahon, a member of Donald Trump’s Cabinet and the Catholic institution’s biggest benefactor. Neil Vigdor,, "Linda McMahon Replaces Tom Brokaw As Sacred Heart U. Commencement Speaker," 27 Apr. 2018 Consideration of a donation to the Concours benefactor, LivingWell Cancer Resource Center now a part of NorthWestern Medicine, is suggested. Larry Nutson,, "Nashes, Woodies, Buicks and other classics roll into Geneva," 25 Aug. 2017 In aggregate, the corporations are the sole benefactors. WSJ, "Good for Amazon, Good for Local Taxpayers?," 18 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'benefactor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of benefactor

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for benefactor

Last Updated

24 May 2019

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The first known use of benefactor was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of benefactor

: someone who helps another person, group, etc., by giving money


ben·​e·​fac·​tor | \ ˈbe-nə-ˌfak-tər How to pronounce benefactor (audio) \

Kids Definition of benefactor

: someone who helps another especially by giving money

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Comments on benefactor

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


to mark by some ceremony or observation

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