Definition of benevolence
1 : disposition to do good <a king known for his benevolence>
2a : an act of kindnessb : a generous gift
3 : a compulsory contribution or tax levied by certain English kings with no other authority than the claim of prerogative (see prerogative 1b)
Examples of benevolence in a sentence
<self-effacing as well as selfless, he refused all public acknowledgement of his many benevolences to the community>
<her benevolence towards her employees was such that she actually let one live in her home temporarily>
Did You Know?
Part of benevolence comes from the Latin root meaning "wish". The novels of Charles Dickens often include a benevolent figure who rescues the main characters at some point--Mr. Brownlow in Oliver Twist, Abel Magwitch in David Copperfield, Mr. Jarndyce in Bleak House, Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. To be benevolent, it helps to have money, but it's not necessary; kind assistance of a nonfinancial sort may turn out to be lifesaving benevolence as well.
Origin and Etymology of benevolence
First Known Use: 14th century
BENEVOLENCE Defined for Kids
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