ben·​e·​fac·​tor ˈbe-nə-ˌfak-tər How to pronounce benefactor (audio)
: 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 End of carousel Both incidents threaten to amplify the tension that has gripped much of the Middle East since war erupted between Israel and Hamas — another of Iran’s benefactors — after the militant group’s stunning cross-border attack Oct. 7. Missy Ryan, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2023 In Virginia Beach, Virginia, last week, a two-day donor retreat hosted by Gov. Glenn Youngkin's allied super PAC ahead of the state's legislative races in November attracted several national-level Republican benefactors that are have been sitting on the sidelines. Soo Rin Kim, ABC News, 27 Oct. 2023 But a majority of the group’s benefactors have not yet contributed to any candidate. Charles Homans, New York Times, 15 Oct. 2023 Most at my reunion in 2019 were all in with honoring our own classmate, the private equity emperor Stephen Schwarzman, as a benefactor and visionary of the university, of America, and of the world. Jim Sleeper, The New Republic, 4 Sep. 2023 Crow has been identified as a benefactor of Justice Clarence Thomas for more than two decades, paying for nearly annual vacations, purchasing from Thomas and others the Georgia home in which the justice’s mother still lives and helping pay for the private schooling for a relative. Mark Sherman, Fortune, 31 Oct. 2023 Though the brand specifically calls out type 3A to 4C hair as the main benefactors of this oil, all hair types can use this product on their hair growth journey — all for $10. Price at time of publish: $9.95 Size: 4.23 oz. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 28 Oct. 2023 The answer, according to experts, is through a combination of guile, improvisation, tenacity and an important overseas benefactor. Brad Lendon, CNN, 11 Oct. 2023 Kyrie Irving — the singular basketball talent and moth-to-the-flame of NBA controversy — has embarked on a rebranding campaign with his new corporate benefactor, Chinese apparel giant ANTA. Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, 5 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'benefactor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near benefactor

Cite this Entry

“Benefactor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: one who helps another especially by giving money

More from Merriam-Webster on benefactor

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