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

advantage, aid, asset, boon, help

Synonyms: Verb

advantage, avail, help, profit, serve

Antonyms: Noun

disadvantage, drawback, encumbrance, hindrance, impediment, minus

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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

Program: Caregiver support as a benefit for employees. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Business calendar: Upcoming events in the area," 9 Aug. 2019 Studies have shown unstructured, outdoor exploratory and sensory experiences have enhancement benefits for the mind and body. Ron Seifer,, "Got the grandkids? Try getting out into nature | Opinion," 9 Aug. 2019 Courtesy of Michelle Wietbrock) West Lafayette: A second-grader’s plea to Mayor John Dennis has yielded a benefit for area turtles. USA TODAY, "Emoji house, Saharan dust, turtle crossing: News from around our 50 states," 8 Aug. 2019 Of all the partnerships Samsung announced yesterday, its tie-up with the UN is the one with the least obvious benefit for the company. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Samsung isn’t going it alone in the fight against Apple and Google," 8 Aug. 2019 Federal courts typically uphold such laws, concluding that the logistical benefit for the states outweighs the burden on would-be candidates. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump Is on the Right Side of the Law, for Once," 8 Aug. 2019 All that is doing is [giving] a green light for people who want to enter there and explore the Amazon first, without any benefit for the Brazilian society. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "Brazil’s Sacked Space Director Speaks Out on Attacks on Science," 7 Aug. 2019 His latest support project is a celebration of books and a benefit for Traveling Stories, and the public is invited. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: San Diego nonprofit Traveling Stories brings books to young readers, and it’s changing lives in a big way," 7 Aug. 2019 And as Brees said—there’s a huge benefit to that for him. Albert Breer,, "Drew Brees, at 40, Is Looking to Get Better," 5 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Kuo said that doing so would help Apple endear itself to consumers, benefiting the company over the long-term. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Apple’s Push Beyond Devices Gains Momentum With Latest Moves in Credit Cards and Health," 10 Aug. 2019 There's a great cause behind the madness: Proceeds from the event benefit the Illinois Special Olympics. Aj Willingham, CNN, "A boy's uplifting challenge, some heroic first responders and a ducky derby," 10 Aug. 2019 Graham Harrell will bring some serious spread and tempo to the Trojans, and early reports suggest the scheme change will benefit Daniels. Michael Shapiro,, "Five QBs Whose Performance Will Make-or-Break Their Team's 2019 Season," 9 Aug. 2019 Taylor Wright and Griff Bandy of NAI Partners represented the tenant, which will benefit from upgrades at the campus planned by owner Norvin Healthcare Properties. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Real estate transactions: Houston oil and gas firm goes on office acquisition spree," 9 Aug. 2019 Public Good also set up a donation page, which will benefit the three aforementioned foundations. Fox News, "Here's how to help the mass shooting victims in El Paso and Dayton," 8 Aug. 2019 Although this is the inaugural King’s Cup Regatta, which benefits several of the Duke and Duchess’s patronages, the physical trophy given to the winner has a long association with the British royal family. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "See Adorable New Photographs of Prince George and Princess Charlotte Enjoying a Very British Boat Race," 8 Aug. 2019 Leavitt, a Peabody native who now resides in Woburn, is donating $1 from every book sold to the Be My Strength Foundation benefiting needy and orphaned students in Africa., "North Calendar: What’s happening this week," 8 Aug. 2019 Instead, Bush won reelection and now one party is clearly benefiting from this anachronistic institution. Adam Eichen, The New Republic, "The Case Against the Electoral College Is Stronger Than Ever," 2 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for benefit

Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

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 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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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).


a period when something is suspended

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