Definition of benevolent
- a benevolent donor
- a benevolent society
- benevolent smiles
a gift from a benevolent donor
He belonged to several benevolent societies and charitable organizations.
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Someone who is "benevolent" genuinely wishes other people well, which is not surprising if you know the word's history. "Benevolent" can be traced back to Latin bene, meaning "good," and velle, meaning "to wish." Other descendants of "velle" in English include "volition" ("the act or power of making one's choices or decisions"), "voluntary," and the rare word velleity (meaning either "the lowest degree of volition" or "a slight wish or tendency"). There is also one more familiar "velle" descendant - "malevolent," the antonym of "benevolent," a word describing one who is disposed to doing ill instead of good.
atrocious, barbaric, barbarous, bestial, brutal, brute, brutish, callous, cold-blooded, cruel, fiendish, hard-hearted, heartless, inhuman, inhumane, insensate, sadistic, savage, truculent, uncompassionate, unfeeling, unkind, unkindly, unsympathetic, vicious, wanton;
altruistic, brotherly, charitable, freehanded, generous, greathearted, humanitarian, liberal, magnanimous, munificent, noble, openhearted, philanthropic (also philanthropical), selfless, unselfish, unsparing;
: kind and generous
: organized to do good things for other people
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