ben·e·fit | \ˈbe-nə-ˌfit \

Definition of benefit 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something that produces good or helpful results or effects or that promotes well-being : advantage discounted prices and other benefits of a museum membership The benefits outweigh the risks of taking the drug. reaping the benefits of their hard work changes that will be to your benefit

b : useful aid : help without the benefit of a lawyer

2a : financial help in time of sickness, old age, or unemployment is on unemployment benefit a disability benefit a family on benefits

b : a payment or service provided for under an annuity, pension plan, or insurance policy collecting his retirement benefits

c : a service (such as health insurance) or right (as to take vacation time) provided by an employer in addition to wages or salary The job doesn't pay much, but the benefits are good.

3 : an entertainment or social event to raise funds for a person or cause holding a benefit to raise money for the school

4 archaic : an act of kindness : benefaction


benefited\ˈbe-nə-ˌfi-təd \ also benefitted; benefiting also benefitting

Definition of benefit (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to be useful or profitable to tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy held a fund-raiser to benefit her campaign

intransitive verb

: to receive help or an advantage : to receive benefit patients who will benefit from the drug has benefited from his experiences in the military

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Other Words from benefit


benefiter \ˈbe-nə-ˌfi-tər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for benefit

Synonyms: Noun

benediction, blessing, boon, felicity, godsend, good, manna, windfall

Synonyms: Verb

advantage, avail, help, profit, serve

Antonyms: Noun

affliction, bane, curse, evil, plague, scourge

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Examples of benefit in a Sentence


the benefits of fresh air and sunshine A benefit of museum membership is that purchases are discounted. There are many financial benefits to owning your own home. She is just now starting to reap the benefits of all her hard work. The benefits of taking the drug outweigh its risks. I see no benefit in changing the system now. We're lucky to be able to get the full benefit of her knowledge. He began collecting his retirement benefits when he was 65. He began collecting his retirement benefit when he was 65. The job doesn't pay much, but the benefits are good.


The new plan may benefit many students. medicines that benefit thousands of people The politician held a fund-raiser to benefit his campaign. Some critics say that the tax cuts only benefit wealthy people. He'll benefit by having experiences I never did.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While the impact of technology on teens has its pros and cons in terms of social media bullying and video game violence, the educational and social benefits for those on the autism spectrum are unprecedented. Lindsay Carlton, Fox News, "Teens with autism learn to code, design apps," 12 July 2018 Win McNamee/Getty Images Tax cuts have clipped trillions of dollars off federal government revenues in recent years, largely to the benefit of the richest Americans. Emily Stewart, Vox, "America’s getting $10 trillion in tax cuts, and 20% of them are going the richest 1%," 11 July 2018 For the Bebenroths, the biggest benefit of coming to live here in Cuyahoga Valley has been the opportunity to raise children on this land. CBS News, "A Taste of Summer: Cultivating the perfect park experience," 8 July 2018 Brooklyn has used post-industrial space and history for the benefit of business and real estate interests, and made public space a private commodity. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "How Brooklyn Lost Itself," 6 July 2018 This was despite mountains of evidence pointing to the benefits of aerobic exercise for mental health. Brad Stulberg, Outside Online, "Lifting Weights Helps Ease Anxiety and Depression," 5 July 2018 Though oenophiles glommed on to that news, those benefits are now also up for grabs. Alex Van Buren,, "Are Lower-Calorie Wines Actually Good for You?," 2 July 2018 For regular consumers, the benefits might be a little harder to grasp at this point. Sam Byford, The Verge, "HTC’s Vive Focus is an impressive standalone VR headset," 2 July 2018 The benefit of Pat Riley and his live-in-the-moment Miami Heat approach is there are no Derek Jeter-like five-year plans, no publicly pushing long-term agendas that often are little more than bids to buy time. Ira Winderman,, "Winderman: Should Heat offseason turn into 2020 vision? | Commentary," 30 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The desserts here offer the soft landing of various mousses, soufflés, and tartes that were fine, but could benefit from more intensity of flavor. Craig Laban,, "The Bercy adds French brasserie sheen to thriving Ardmore scene," 13 July 2018 Administration statements ultimately seeking zero automotive tariffs suggest the folks in charge don’t realize just how much American manufacturing and workers benefit from the little-known tariff. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Trump's trade war could threaten US pickup production and jobs," 13 July 2018 Usually, the option is contingent on whether your team benefited in the end. Alejandro Chacoff, The Atlantic, "Soccer Has No Interest in Fairness," 12 July 2018 The gain was likely prompted by its new Ozuna remix, which hit radio on July 2, benefiting from six days of airplay. Pamela Bustios, Billboard, "Jennifer Lopez Logs Eighth Latin Airplay No. 1 With 'El Anillo'," 12 July 2018 Last fall, congressional Republicans and Fox News pushed the Uranium One conspiracy — the idea Hillary Clinton personally benefited from sale of uranium to Russia. Alvin Chang, Vox, "Nearly two years into the Trump presidency, Fox News is still obsessed with Hillary Clinton," 11 July 2018 New to this year’s Fest on the Fox lineup is an evening 5K walk/run, which will benefit four area charities, including Hoof Woof and Meow Animal Rescue, Shop With a Cop, D300 Food Pantry and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dundee Township. Erin Sauder, Elgin Courier-News, "Fest on the Fox moves to new location at Carpenter Park in Carpentersville," 10 July 2018 He is often told by coaches that year-round training benefits his game., "Stay healthy: Overuse injuries in one sport athletes," 9 July 2018 Celebrate Young Writers benefit auction, on June 2. Michael Walsh, Courant Community, "Teen Earns National Poetry Honors," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'benefit.' 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 benefit


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for benefit


Middle English, from Anglo-French benfet, from Latin bene factum, from neuter of bene factus, past participle of bene facere


see benefit entry 1

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Statistics for benefit

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for benefit

The first known use of benefit was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for benefit



English Language Learners Definition of benefit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a good or helpful result or effect

: money that is paid by a company (such as an insurance company) or by a government when someone dies, becomes sick, stops working, etc.

: something extra (such as vacation time or health insurance) that is given by an employer to workers in addition to their regular pay



English Language Learners Definition of benefit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be useful or helpful to (someone or something)

: to be helped


ben·e·fit | \ˈbe-nə-ˌfit \

Kids Definition of benefit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a good or helpful result or effect the benefits of fresh air

2 : useful assistance : help … he is an orphan whom I raised myself without benefit of governess …— Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

3 : money paid in time of death, sickness, or unemployment or in old age (as by an insurance company)


benefited; benefiting

Kids Definition of benefit (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to be useful or profitable to The changes will benefit everyone.

2 : to be helped He'll benefit from new experiences.



Legal Definition of benefit 

1 : something that provides an advantage or gain specifically : an enhancement of property value, enjoyment of facilities, or increase in general prosperity arising from a public improvement

general benefit

: a benefit to the community at large resulting from a public improvement

special benefit

: a benefit from a public improvement that directly enhances the value of particular property and is not shared by the community at large

Note: In proceedings for a partial taking for the purpose of a public improvement, the condemning authority may use a special benefit to the remaining land as a set-off against the landowner's damages for the taking.

2 in the civil law of Louisiana : a right especially that serves to limit a person's liability

benefit of discussion

: the right of a surety being sued to compel the suing creditor to sue the principal first

benefit of division

: the right of a surety being sued to compel the suing creditor to also sue the cosureties also : the right of the surety to be liable only for his or her proportionate share of the debt

benefit of inventory

: the right of an heir to be held liable for the debts of the estate only to the extent of the assets in the estate

Note: The heir obtains the benefit of inventory by having a qualified public officer (as a notary public) make an inventory of the assets in the estate within the time period set by statute.

3a : financial help in time of disability, sickness, old age, or unemployment

b : payment or service provided for under an annuity, pension plan, or insurance policy — see also death benefit

c : fringe benefit

Other Words from benefit

benefit verb

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Comments on benefit

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