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 To rewrite the rules for Baffert’s benefit would only invite more litigation and deserved derision. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Sullivan: Bob Baffert needs new strategy after betamethasone claims backfire," 11 May 2021 Energy analysts say another benefit could come after the Colonial Pipeline restarts, by allowing refiners and blenders to market more varieties of fuel for regions short on gasoline. Fortune, "Biden lifts some gasoline mandates to address fuel shortage caused by U.S. pipeline shutdown," 11 May 2021 Republicans seized the jobs report and claimed that Biden’s policies, specifically the enhanced unemployment benefit, were contributing to a worker shortage. Shahar Ziv, Forbes, "Here’s Why $300 A Week Unemployment Benefits Aren’t Driving Worker Shortages," 11 May 2021 Over the final decades of the 20th century and the first decade-plus of this one, analysts and political strategists would have termed that shift in regional influence an unequivocal benefit for Republicans. Ronald Brownstein, CNN, "Why the Sun Belt may pick the next president," 11 May 2021 The invitation-only benefit on May 8 was held in a tent but a small number of attendees at a time can go into the building and view the exhibit led by the curator. Myrna Petlicki,, "The Art Center Highland Park debuts new exhibit featuring dramatic pieces created with found objects and items from nature," 11 May 2021 Their insights weren’t just for listeners’ benefit — Alan and Ann Simpson also played a pivotal role in Sale’s own romantic life. Washington Post, "‘Let’s Talk About the Hard Things’ makes a compelling case that we should," 10 May 2021 Montana, South Carolina and Arkansas are planning to stop accepting the $300 benefit. Arkansas Online, "States push jobless from virus recession to return to work," 10 May 2021 Not only have voter suppression tactics become commonplace in recent years, so too has heavy gerrymandering at the state and national level—a practice that’s been to the Republican Party’s electoral benefit. Natalie Shure, The New Republic, "Nothing Exposes the GOP’s Cruelty More than Its War on Medicaid Expansion," 10 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There are nonprofits and charities that benefit from the money raised by races, plus vendors and local hospitality venues that are patronized by runners after the races, Sheaff said., "Runners, rejoice: Real-life races resume in Rhode Island," 30 Apr. 2021 The more support the post-racing programs receive, the more horses that will benefit. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Thoroughbred retirement farm rethinks debate about horse racing and its stars," 29 Apr. 2021 While this edition of his book is aimed at teenagers, Treuer explores questions about Indian culture, history and life, past and present, with humor, intelligence and candor that would also benefit adults. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In the satirical 'The Thanksgiving Play,' woke white people are the biggest turkeys," 29 Apr. 2021 However, while every company can acknowledge the need for innovation, actually defining and implementing an innovative method that can benefit your organization is a difficult and sometimes costly process. Debarshi Chaudhury, Forbes, "How To Discover Innovation At Your Company," 28 Apr. 2021 On April 29, Orlando magician Kostya Kimlat hosts a virtual magic show that will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. Kathleen Christiansen,, "Say yes to these family-friendly events in Central Florida," 28 Apr. 2021 The top individual tax rate would return to 39.6% from 37%, and Biden also would end some capital gains tax breaks and other loopholes that predominantly benefit the richest taxpayers. Los Angeles Times, "Biden’s ‘Families Plan’ would tax rich to help schools, childcare, community college and more," 28 Apr. 2021 These communities are, the report shows, those that least benefit from the convenience of Amazon's two-day delivery promise. NBC News, "'Treated like sacrifices': Families breathe toxic fumes from California's warehouse hub," 27 Apr. 2021 However, according to a copy of the bill provided to USA TODAY Sports, there are changes that could benefit athletes more than their initial measure did. Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY, "Two members of U.S. House add new elements to bill on NCAA athletes' name, image, likeness," 26 Apr. 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

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Benefit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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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