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

Their clients wanted slow, steady funding schedules that would pay for their workers’ benefits over the years without gyrating every time the markets soured or interest rates spiked. Mary Williams Walsh,, "Jeremy Gold, 75, actuary who warned of pension crisis," 14 July 2018 But for 12 years, Coombes' lived in the dead man's house, collected his welfare benefits and used his money, police said. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Daughter kills dad after finding his child porn collection. She buried her secret for 12 years," 13 July 2018 In January of this year, Coombes admitted to killing her father, concealing his death and profiting from his pension benefits. Samantha Schmidt, Houston Chronicle, "She found her father's child porn images of herself, then killed him - and kept it secret for 12 years," 13 July 2018 The retirees say one possible solution — the Butch Lewis Act of 2017 — is the best chance currently on the table to save their pension benefits. Edward Mckinley, kansascity, "KC union retirees join rally in Ohio for pension fix — or is it a bailout?," 13 July 2018 But without Novo Dia, many SNAP recipients will no longer be able to redeem their benefits at farmers markets. Jane Black And Leah Douglas,, "Some food stamp recipients may soon lose access to farmers market benefits," 12 July 2018 Amazon would get you your benefits like immediately. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Matt Cutts of the U.S. Digital Service on Recode Decode," 12 July 2018 And the failure to fully comprehend the life of a drug addict is what allows him to exploit Houston for his own benefit. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 Still, this is consistent with much of the film’s narrative style which, largely to its benefit, relies more on atmosphere and visual expression than on dialogue or exposition. Gary Goldstein,, "Review: Vincent Cassel's soulful portrayal propels vivid 'Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti'," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Those country-wide demonstrations in Vietnam came amid concerns that a controversial draft law on special economic zones would benefit Chinese investors, according to The Associated Press. Chris Fuchs /, NBC News, "U.S. citizen arrested during protest in Vietnam scheduled to stand trial," 13 July 2018 For them, spreading benefits more evenly would benefit the poor, even under a revenue-neutral model. The Economist, "The welfare state needs updating," 12 July 2018 The interior would benefit from a refreshment, but the space — and views — will never go out of style. Jack Flemming,, "Elizabeth Taylor’s Beverly Hills haunt hits the market for $15.9 million," 12 July 2018 And contrary to ‘trickle down’ claims that huge tax cuts will benefit the employees of these pharmaceutical giants, evidence so far shows the companies are sharing relatively little with their workers. Lev Facher, STAT, "A new messaging tactic on the left: Drug prices rise, as pharma prospers from tax law," 9 July 2018 Briscoe would benefit from working with Kreutzer as much as possible. Josh Robbins,, "Five takeaways from the Magic’s summer league opener," 7 July 2018 Tickets can be purchased at, and direct donations can also be made through the site to the International Thyroid Oncology Center, which benefits from the luncheon. Kc Baker,, "Jill Zarin Starting to Date After Husband's Death in January: 'Bobby Would Want Me to Live Again'," 7 July 2018 That would benefit business owners like Austin Kimbrough. Jose R. Gonzalez, Houston Chronicle, "Galveston’s blue water was a boon for island business," 6 July 2018 But there’s little reason to think that the Democratic Party, as a whole, would benefit from pursuing that kind of triangulation. Eric Leivtz, Daily Intelligencer, "For Democrats, Immigration Is a Political Problem Without a Policy Solution," 2 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

9 Sep 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

What made you want to look up benefit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make amends

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