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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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 The test would be free, thanks to a donation from an anonymous benefactor. Washington Post, 24 July 2021 Paul Westphal was the primary benefactor, hitting 10 free throws and scoring a game-high 28 points to go with his nine assists. The Arizona Republic, 14 July 2021 But airlines have been another big benefactor of the $28 billion that has gone to airports. Dallas News, 12 July 2021 Rhodes was an education benefactor whose legacy includes Oxford University's prestigious Rhodes scholarships, which have been awarded to international students for over a century. Pan Pylas, Star Tribune, 20 May 2021 Arcade enthusiasts responded with tens of thousands of dollars in donations, including a $5,000 gift from an anonymous benefactor, who mentioned his own memories playing Oregon Trail in his high school computer lab. Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 May 2021 The museum was established in 1884, and a condition set by its benefactor, Gen. Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers, was that the university should appoint a lecturer in the new science of anthropology. Charlotte Gray, WSJ, 18 June 2021 Steppe chuckled when asked how the foundation will thank its million-dollar benefactor. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 June 2021 The result, a week later, was the Bay of Pigs fiasco, a military and political disaster that would only embolden Fidel Castro and his chief benefactor, the Soviet Union. Gregory Mcnamee, CNN, 12 Apr. 2021

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

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Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Benefactor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for benefactor



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

More from Merriam-Webster on benefactor

Nglish: Translation of benefactor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of benefactor for Arabic Speakers


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