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

The building is named after Jewish collector and benefactor James Simon, who died in 1932 and donated some 10,000 objects to Berlin museums over the years, including the Nefertiti bust. Washington Post, "Berlin opening new addition to its Museum Island complex," 10 July 2019 Church families, led by benefactor Manuel Teixeira de Freitas, contributed to pay for the construction, often by attending fiestas and bazaars. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "Five Wounds Church in San Jose turning 100 years old," 6 July 2019 The alternative: hotel sit-ins or benefactors coming to the rescue. Shira Springer,, "What needs to be done to grow women’s soccer?," 29 June 2019 That national teams rely on wealthy benefactors rather than support from their federations should compel FIFA, the sport's governing body, to do more. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Women's World Cup: Record-breaking feats, empty seats -- the story so far," 21 June 2019 Having all of [our volunteers and benefactors] as part of their community is really what makes the big difference. Danielle Naer, Vogue, "God’s Love We Deliver Hosted a Cocktail Party in the Hamptons," 17 June 2019 The record shows Holcomb's largest benefactor is his own lieutenant governor. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Here are the big donors to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is flush with 2020 campaign cash," 29 Apr. 2019 North Korea and China are longtime allies dating back to the Korean War, and Beijing remains Pyongyang's biggest international benefactor, accounting for an estimated 90% of North Korean foreign trade. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "Xi heads to North Korea as fate of US nuclear deal still up in the air," 19 June 2019 The program’s benefactor, Jackson told me, was the family foundation of Leonard Riggio, the executive chairman of Barnes & Noble. Daniel A. Gross, The New Yorker, "The Strange Story of a Secret Literary Fellowship," 16 June 2019

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

19 Jul 2019

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

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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

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