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 benefit (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 benefit (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 Oakland reliever Jake Diekman suggested the different format might have a benefit. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, "At Giants and A's spring training, 'weird' is just the new normal," 26 Feb. 2021 But what if the operator didn’t have the benefit of a visual aide to observe the hacker in real time? Dave Weinstein, WSJ, "Hackers May Be Coming for Your City’s Water Supply," 26 Feb. 2021 Be diligent about both scheduling and taking breaks, as simply putting them on your schedule and constantly working through them obviously does not have any benefit. Ashira Prossack, Forbes, "How To Stay Focused While Working From Home," 26 Feb. 2021 In addition, Clubhouse, which is invitation-only and currently limited to iOS users, still has the benefit of being small enough to manage. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "Can Clubhouse Move Fast Without Breaking Things?," 25 Feb. 2021 In fact, if anything, the vaccines could have additional benefit to the baby. Katia Hetter, CNN, "I'm pregnant... should I get the Covid-19 vaccine?," 25 Feb. 2021 In pre-pandemic times, teams with new coaches had the benefit of hosting two minicamps, typically one in April before the draft and a second mandatory camp in early- to mid-June. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions' 2021 offseason program may be virtual again; who knows when normal returns," 5 Feb. 2021 The Los Angeles Unified School District’s involvement in vaccine distribution could have the benefit of getting doses for teachers more quickly. Howard Blume Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Beutner presses for L.A. schools to become COVID-19 vaccine centers," 18 Jan. 2021 This business model has the benefit of discouraging account churning but has the disadvantage of generating recurring fees that may seem reasonable at first but often become unreasonable over time as your account increases in value. Star Tribune, "Beware asset-based fees on your retirement assets," 16 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To learn more about how cross-country skiing can benefit you, keep reading. Kyle Schurman,, "What is cross-country skiing?," 26 Feb. 2021 The fees are meant to help offset the costs of bargaining and contract administration that benefit them. Christian Wade, Washington Examiner, "'Right to work' bill advancing in New Hampshire Legislature," 16 Feb. 2021 But the Times investigation found that Mr. Rivera continued to sidestep the mandates to benefit himself and his associates. Amy Julia Harris, New York Times, "After Abuse Allegations, $2 Billion Shelter Network Faces Scrutiny," 7 Feb. 2021 Curley also said the environmental impact study process showed how people can play the system to benefit themselves. Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, "Emotional court hearing follows vigil by Oak Flat supporters who oppose copper mine," 5 Feb. 2021 Supplying free tampons and pads will benefit them—and everyone else. Chandra Bozelko, Fortune, "Why business must help end ‘period poverty’ for women in America," 10 Dec. 2020 But then that would be the people who benefit from the program helping decide who gets the money. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "Neumos in Seattle, in a Pandemic: We Have 'No Idea' When SOS Grants Will Be Open," 10 Feb. 2021 More than half of the workers who would benefit from a wage increase are women, according to the Economic Policy Institute. NBC News, "About 275,000 women left workforce in January in 'critical' pandemic trend, experts say," 6 Feb. 2021 Elderly people and disabled or chronically ill people who can’t get to health clinics more than once, incarcerated people, and unhoused people are some of many groups who could benefit from not having to wait for a second dose. Elly Belle,, "Johnson & Johnson’s Single-Shot Vaccine Could Be The Answer To These At-Risk Groups," 1 Feb. 2021

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

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Benefit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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 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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