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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