benefit

1 of 2

noun

ben·​e·​fit ˈbe-nə-ˌfit How to pronounce benefit (audio)
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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

benefit

2 of 2

verb

benefited ˈbe-nə-ˌfi-təd How to pronounce benefit (audio) also benefitted; benefiting also benefitting

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
benefiter noun

Example Sentences

Noun 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. Verb 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
That would operate to the benefit of national Republicans in two respects. Ian Macdougall, ProPublica, 30 Nov. 2022 Citizens could then consider what responsibility America bears for the climate effects of the environmental damage of ending World Wars, containing the Soviet Union and promoting global stability—to the benefit of rich and poor nations alike. WSJ, 28 Nov. 2022 To fulfill the tradition there are hundreds of millions of trees growing now to the benefit of the environment. Chris Mckeown, The Enquirer, 19 Nov. 2022 Social-media interfaces and features change subtly all the time, not always to the benefit of user experience. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 11 Nov. 2022 Also, one study released this summer found little to no benefit for younger adults when looking at some 100,000 patients in Israel. Anne Flaherty, ABC News, 10 Nov. 2022 Of relinquishing a bit of their own resources to the benefit of someone else? Salina Jivani, Good Housekeeping, 10 Nov. 2022 Thankfully, Microsoft and Apple will continue to set aside their differences to the benefit of users of both platforms, as was the case on Wednesday when Microsoft brought iCloud Photos integration to the Photos app on Windows 11. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 9 Nov. 2022 With immigration reform, the pipelines into higher education did change to the benefit of Asian Americans. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 3 Nov. 2022
Verb
But company lawyers argued that Weisselberg was only intending to benefit himself with his tax-dodge scheme, not the Trump Organization, and that the company shouldn’t be blamed for his transgressions. Michael R. Sisak, Fortune, 2 Dec. 2022 But company lawyers argued that Weisselberg was only intending to benefit himself with his tax-dodge scheme, not the Trump Organization, and that the company shouldn’t be blamed for his transgressions. Michael R. Sisak, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Dec. 2022 But company lawyers argued that Weisselberg was only intending to benefit himself with his tax dodge scheme, not the Trump Organization, and that the company shouldn't be blamed for his transgressions. Arkansas Online, 2 Dec. 2022 The 42nd Annual Wild Arts Festival to benefit the Portland Audubon is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. oregonlive, 2 Dec. 2022 But company lawyers argued that Weisselberg was only intending to benefit himself with his tax dodge scheme, not the Trump Organization, and that the company shouldn’t be blamed for his transgressions. Michael R. Sisak, Chicago Tribune, 1 Dec. 2022 But with Russia and more recently China having emerged as dominant forces in that market, French officials say that transatlantic partnerships would benefit both them and the U.S. Rick Noack, Washington Post, 29 Nov. 2022 This will not only benefit you but also help to create pressure for more companies to increase their transparency. Michael Luca, WSJ, 23 Nov. 2022 Just massage to create districts that benefit you all. Times Staff, Los Angeles Times, 21 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near benefit

Cite this Entry

“Benefit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/benefit. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

benefit 1 of 2

noun

ben·​e·​fit ˈben-ə-ˌfit How to pronounce benefit (audio)
1
a
: something that does good to a person or thing
the benefits of fresh air and sunshine
b
: useful aid : help
had to perform without the benefit of a rehearsal
2
a
: money paid at death or when sick, retired, or unemployed (as by an insurance company or public agency)
b
: something (as health insurance or vacation time) provided to a worker by an employer in addition to pay
3
: an entertainment or social event to raise funds for a person or cause

benefit

2 of 2

verb

benefited
-ˌfit-əd
also benefitted; benefiting also benefitting
1
: to be useful or profitable to
medicines that benefit all
2
: to receive benefit
I benefited from the experience

Legal Definition

benefit

noun

ben·​e·​fit
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.

3
a
: 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
benefit verb

More from Merriam-Webster on benefit

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ