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 Barbecue joint Pecan Lodge and Burger place Twisted Root have reaped similar benefits after a fiery visit from Fieri. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "D-FW pizza joint Cane Rosso will again appear on Food Network TV show," 21 Feb. 2020 His business reaps the benefits of the residential program, too. Elizabeth Depompei, Indianapolis Star, "How Franklin is breathing new life into its historic downtown homes," 20 Feb. 2020 Care delivery personnel are able to leverage their credentials in a specific scope of practice for the benefit of the patient. Sean Duffy, STAT, "Digital therapeutics vs. digital care: defining the landscape," 20 Feb. 2020 Lizzo is paying it forward with her latest cover and music fans are reaping all the benefits. Shannon Carlin,, "Lizzo Pays It Forward With A Sultry Cover Of Harry Styles’ “Adore You”," 18 Feb. 2020 Members of this year’s Louisville class are reaping those benefits already. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Freshman 15+: Why enrolling early is already paying off for Louisville football newcomers," 17 Feb. 2020 Throughout the day, Democrats responded by praising Obama's tweet and arguing that Trump is reaping the benefits of the work his predecessor did. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "President's Day scrape: Trump, Obama spar over who gets credit for robust U.S. economy," 17 Feb. 2020 When the government poisons the well, the bad guys reap the benefits. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Why Wasn’t Andrew McCabe Charged?," 15 Feb. 2020 The savviest leaders know how to cut through the deluge of A.I. buzzwords and reap the technology’s benefits. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "This man got bitcoin to confess to a $13.8 million judgment. Sort of.," 12 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But most immunotherapies help only a small subset of patients, meaning doctors often have to resort to a trial-and-error process to determine who might actually benefit from the novel treatments. Shafaq Zia, STAT, "Antigen-based metric could better predict which patients benefit from immunotherapy, study says," 21 Feb. 2020 Though consumers could eventually benefit from Microsoft’s decision, for now the company is targeting smartphones managed by enterprises. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft tasks its Defender antimalware with securing corporate Android and iOS phones," 20 Feb. 2020 The trick is to build new housing while not uprooting people who live in the old stock—so that everyone benefits from the protection against disaster, not just a wealthy, lucky few. Adam Rogers, Wired, "Cities Fighting Climate Woes Hasten 'Green Gentrification'," 20 Feb. 2020 There is no line of work that doesn’t benefit from those attributes. Brad Stulberg, Outside Online, "The Great Fitness Scam," 12 Feb. 2020 Even so, Mr Biden was the only candidate who actually benefited from the slow dripping out of the results. The Economist, "Iowa overShadowed The shambolic Iowa caucuses did little to unite the Democrats," 6 Feb. 2020 The lighting was in collaboration with Woman’s Day and designer Betsey Johnson as part of the #LOVEYOURHEART campaign to benefit women’s heart health. Annie O’sullivan, Woman's Day, "The Empire State Building Lit Up Red to Show Support Heart Health," 6 Feb. 2020 Like Brady, Mahomes will likely benefit from playing in a pretty blah division for years to come. Andy Nesbitt, For The Win, "Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are going to get used to championship parades," 6 Feb. 2020 Who benefits from that other than network executives and advertisers True enough, the debate launched with 45 minutes of discussion about foreign policy and trade, but note the framing. Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Last Night’s Debate Was An All-White Party Not Worth Attending," 15 Jan. 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

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Benefit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 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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