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 Nationwide, Asian American restaurant owners are responding to the shortage of federal aid by acting as benefactors to their own staff. NBC News, "How Asian American restaurateurs forced to do layoffs are raising funds for former staff," 24 Apr. 2020 Koch was for many years a trustee of Reason magazine and a benefactor of the kind of politics associated with it. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "A Different Kind of ‘Right-Wing’," 25 Aug. 2019 The report said Epstein was a 1967 attendee of the school's music camp and, in later years, a benefactor. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein has ties to Michigan's Interlochen arts school," 12 July 2019 Its success has allowed Vietnam to begin playing the role of benefactor — a subtle challenge to its sometime rival China — donating hundreds of thousands of masks to Europe and its Southeast Asian neighbors. Shashank Bengali, Los Angeles Times, "Without a single COVID-19 death, Vietnam starts easing its coronavirus lockdown," 23 Apr. 2020 The mother, who chronicled her life on the run through an online blog since shortly after her disappearance in June, received help from a mostly underground network of benefactors and a growing number of supporters on social media. Justin Mack And Daphne Duret, Indianapolis Star, "'It's pretty shocking': Virginia mom, 4 kids found in Plainfield after nationwide manhunt," 12 Feb. 2020 However, thanks to a steady stream of benefactors and dedicated professors, Jamia survived, going on to lay the foundation stone for its current campus in Okhla, near New Delhi, in 1935. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "The story of Jamia, the “anti-national” university born of deep Indian nationalism," 29 Dec. 2019 Weinberg is a world-class persuader, though, and a majority of the trustees and a surprising number of benefactors and city officials fell in love with Hammons’s ghost pier. Calvin Tomkins, The New Yorker, "David Hammons Follows His Own Rules," 2 Dec. 2019 Yet another challenger to Nadler has the backing of more traditional political benefactors. NBC News, "Meet the Press Blog: Latest news, analysis and data driving the political discussion," 7 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for benefactor

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for benefactor

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Benefactor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for benefactor


How to pronounce benefactor (audio)

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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