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 Angelos, who splits his time between Utah and Los Angeles, will now lobby his political benefactor to change federal marijuana laws. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, "New marijuana legalization effort focuses on Republicans, including Utah’s Mike Lee," 9 Apr. 2021 Andrew Feiler photographed 105 schools and interviewed dozens of former students, teachers, preservationists and community leaders That the schools’ history is not more widely known is in large part due to the program’s benefactor. Michael J. Solender, Smithsonian Magazine, "Photographer Andrew Feiler documented how the educational institutions shaped a generation of black leaders," 30 Mar. 2021 And so a tradition was born, one that Gesas and his new benefactor hope lasts all the way until April 5. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "One UCLA super fan came up with a creative way to attend the NCAA tournament," 22 Mar. 2021 If 125 people donate $20 each, the benefactor will donate $25,000. cleveland, "Olmsted Community Center is a ‘ministry’ of love, memories: Olmsted Dates and Data," 22 Mar. 2021 Why even consider selling to a private owner when the $1 million donation that allowed the AHS to purchase River Farm years ago came from a benefactor who wanted the land and gardens to remain open to the public? Washington Post, "Urgent efforts underway to preserve historic River Farm as public land," 14 Mar. 2021 William Rainey Harper, the scholar benefactor John D. Rockefeller brought in to launch the school, believed sports could play an important role in establishing the University of Chicago. Phil Rosenthal,, "So much for Chicago’s Big Ten team: 75 years ago, the University of Chicago told the conference it wanted out," 8 Mar. 2021 Dickens’ orphan Pip goes to London to become a gentleman, thanks to his anonymous benefactor. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week: ‘My Fair Lady’; ‘Marry Poppins’," 19 Mar. 2021 Because of the privacy preferences of its lead donor and mastermind— Nike co-founder and Oregon alumnus Phil Knight, the university’s frequent benefactor—that figure is an estimate prepared for the university by an appraiser. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "University of Oregon’s Lavish Nike-Fueled Track Stadium Cost $270 Million*," 8 Mar. 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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Time Traveler for benefactor

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

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Statistics for benefactor

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Benefactor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 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

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