benefic

adjective
be·​nef·​ic | \ bə-ˈne-fik How to pronounce benefic (audio) \

Definition of benefic

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Benefic comes from Latin beneficus, which in turn comes from "bene" ("well") and "facere" ("to do"). The word was originally used by astrologers to refer to celestial bodies believed to have a favorable influence, and it's still used in astrological contexts. "Benefic," "beneficent," and "beneficial" are all synonyms, but there are shades of difference. "Beneficial" usually applies to things that promote well-being (as in "beneficial treatment"), or that provide some benefit or advantage (as in "beneficial classes"). "Beneficent" means doing or effecting good (as in "a beneficent climate"), but in particular refers to the performance of acts of kindness or charity (as in "a beneficent organization")."Benefic," the rarest of the three, tends to be a bit high-flown, and it's mostly used to describe a favorable power or force.

Examples of benefic in a Sentence

the belief that participation in sports has a benefic influence on a young person
Recent Examples on the Web Independently, both Jupiter and Venus are benefic planets that promote love, fortune, and expanded opportunities. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What This Week's Horoscope Means for You," 14 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'benefic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of benefic

1641, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for benefic

Latin beneficus, from bene + facere

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Time Traveler for benefic

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The first known use of benefic was in 1641

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Cite this Entry

“Benefic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/benefic. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on benefic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for benefic

Nglish: Translation of benefic for Spanish Speakers

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