ben·​e·​fac·​tor | \ˈbe-nə-ˌfak-tər \

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

Democratic Party benefactors like George Soros and Michael Bloomberg made large fortunes as capitalists. Bobby Jindal, WSJ, "Conservatism Isn’t Dead Yet," 25 Nov. 2018 By design, Rawling, the initial benefactor, had a multifaceted plan for using the site, and raising funds, because visitor revenue simply wouldn’t cover upkeep. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rethinking the modern house museum," 12 Oct. 2018 An anonymous benefactor then purchased it and made sure its sound would again fill the world’s concert stages. Verena Dobnik, The Seattle Times, "Stolen Stradivarius found after decades comes to life again," 9 Oct. 2018 In the place of aggressive fundraising by the Democratic Party, a billionaire financier is poised to become the largest benefactor this cycle in the Democrats’ efforts to regain the majority in the House. Michelle Ye Hee Lee And Anu Narayanswamy, Washington Post, "RNC enters summer 2018 with double the amount of DNC’s war chest," 20 June 2018 SoftBank’s leadership, including Masayoshi Son, skipped his speaking engagement at the conference in what was seen as a snub of his key benefactor. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Why Silicon Valley investors just can’t quit Saudi money," 25 Oct. 2018 Amazon is as much a reflection of its boss as the Day One Fund is of its benefactor. Tyrone Beason / Columnist, The Seattle Times, "Amazon’s Bezos needs to tackle poverty as boldly as he talks about space," 8 Oct. 2018 Further financial assistance was needed to develop Cambodia, so Hun Sen at least maintained enough of a democratic framework to satisfy his benefactors. Fox News, "Cambodia's election a sure thing for long-serving leader," 27 July 2018 China has long been Pyongyang's biggest benefactor, and its recent tightening of trade with North Korea, at Trump's behest, is thought to have played a part in Kim's agreement to meet Trump to discuss a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Don Lee,, "Trump went from 'America first' to saving jobs in China. This could be why," 15 May 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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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of benefactor

: someone who helps another especially by giving money

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


a nest or breeding place

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