ben·​e·​fit | \ ˈbe-nə-ˌfit How to pronounce benefit (audio) \

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 How to pronounce benefited (audio) \ 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 How to pronounce benefiter (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for benefit

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of benefit in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But federal lawmakers have shown little appetite for extending the full additional benefit beyond July 31. Diego Mendoza-moyers,, "San Antonio’s unemployment dipped in May, but new uncertainty is ahead," 27 June 2020 There is also no preferential treatment afforded DACA recipients from the program, nor is there any discernable legal benefit for a corporation to hire a DACA recipient over a U.S. citizen. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Supreme Court decision doesn’t give DACA recipients jobs over U.S. citizens," 26 June 2020 And the additional $600 a week, federal unemployment benefit through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act is set to end July 25 in Michigan. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Mich. unemployment claims are declining, but trend could continue if COVID-19 cases rise," 25 June 2020 Nobody really knows why dexamethasone seems to have such a clear benefit in Covid-19. Adam Rogers, Wired, "Dexamethasone and the Recovery Trial’s High-Speed Science," 24 June 2020 That’s a crucial benefit in a 2020 season where concern for player health and safety is at an all-time high. NBC News, "It's a whole new ballgame: America's pastime will have a strange look in 2020," 24 June 2020 As part of the program, winning businesses must agree to locate within the city of Akron for at least two years and demonstrate a benefit to the community, in an effort to boost the local economy. Robin Goist, cleveland, "Akron’s ‘Rubber City Match’ program to support 17 small businesses," 23 June 2020 The true benefit of a new router comes with having better coverage. David Nield, Popular Science, "Better internet could be a simple router upgrade away," 20 June 2020 The CARES Act provided a $600 weekly payment to jobless workers beyond the regular benefit. Jay Heflin, Washington Examiner, "Congressional action helped spur surprise economic rebound," 18 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Haskins used to benefit from a child care subsidy program, commonly referred to by parents and providers here as DHS, shorthand for Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services. Lillian Mongeau, USA TODAY, "High-quality daycare is too expensive. Government subsidies are making it worse.," 28 June 2020 Those with less severe cytokine storms were likely to benefit from an immune-boosting drug. Ryan Prior, CNN, "After saving his own life with a repurposed drug, a professor reviews every drug being tried against Covid-19. Here's what he's found," 27 June 2020 In addition to marking the film's tenth anniversary, the virtual gathering was held to promote and benefit the charity Water for People. Clark Collis,, "Scott Pilgrim cast reunites for 10th anniversary script read-through for charity," 26 June 2020 Like many, Cadenhead, who works in information technology at USAA, is doing her job from home for the time being, which has enabled her to foster more puppies, which benefit from having more human supervision and attention. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje,, "San Antonio ‘foster mom’ helps place dogs in new homes as adoptions have increased during the coronavirus pandemic," 26 June 2020 Early adolescents are less likely to benefit from the security that comes from being with their parents, because around the age of 10 or 11, children’s social lives take on increasing developmental significance. Lydia Denworth, The Atlantic, "What Happens When Kids Don’t See Their Peers for Months," 24 June 2020 In Lynn’s example, some wonder whether the star prospects that appear to benefit most from showcases and social media buzz would’ve seen their recruitments flourish already based on their natural size, skill and game film. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "What’s the value of recruiting showcases? Coronavirus cancellations could settle the third-party debate," 17 June 2020 The used car market, in particular, is likely to benefit disproportionately as Indians will try to spend less given the uncertain economic environment and the current state of jobs. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "In post-pandemic India, pre-owned cars will become more popular than ever," 10 June 2020 Hit particularly hard are people in the hospitality industry who had sublet from private landlords without tenancy agreements and were therefore unable to benefit from the government’s temporary ban against evictions. Ceylan Yeginsu,, "Coronavirus nearly ended street homelessness in U.K. Maybe not for long.," 6 June 2020

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for benefit

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for benefit

Last Updated

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Benefit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for benefit


How to pronounce benefit (audio)

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 How to pronounce benefit (audio) \

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

Other Words from benefit

benefit verb

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