benevolent

adjective
be·​nev·​o·​lent | \ bə-ˈnev-lənt How to pronounce benevolent (audio) , -ˈne-və- \

Definition of benevolent

1a : marked by or disposed to doing good a benevolent donor
b : organized for the purpose of doing good a benevolent society
2 : marked by or suggestive of goodwill benevolent smiles

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Other Words from benevolent

benevolently adverb
benevolentness noun

Benevolent Has a Good History

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.

Examples of benevolent in a Sentence

Trees that size are like whales, sort of benevolent in their huge bulk … — Sebastian Junger, This Old House, March/April 1998 Grandfather sometimes turned on us like a rigged trap, and of course the benevolent gaze of the sage became the glare of the patriarch. — Darryl Pinckney, High Cotton, 1992 A Southern writer is allowed his eccentricities. The prevailing attitude is a kind of benevolent neglect. — Walker Percy, "Why I Live Where I Live," 1980, in Signposts in a Strange Land1991 They tore out the windows of the club's simple storefront and bricked them over and left two much smaller windows … so that the look of the club changed from that of a benevolent neighborhood organization to that of a paramilitary one. — "The Talk of the Town," New Yorker26 Feb. 1990 a gift from a benevolent donor He belonged to several benevolent societies and charitable organizations.
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Recent Examples on the Web The sea gods of Butter Land are benevolent carnivores and this, their gift to the world, is their signature dish. CNN, "The world's 50 best foods," 13 Apr. 2021 Both Microsoft Teams and Zoom have been exposed as vulnerable by benevolent hackers taking part in the annual Pwn2Own competition. Thomas Brewster, Forbes, "Microsoft Teams And Zoom Hacked In $1 Million Competition," 8 Apr. 2021 He is looked at with benevolent interest by some of the local elite, but his talent leads to ruin rather than triumph. New York Times, "Tillie Olsen Captured the Toll of Women’s Labor — on Their Lives and Art," 25 Mar. 2021 Now the Virgin Mary statue in the corner spread her benevolent arms out over the dead in their Sunday shoes. Evan Allen And Beth Teitell, BostonGlobe.com, "What we lost, what we found," 12 Mar. 2021 Tompkins-Stange said the idea of a benevolent billionaire is a uniquely American phenomenon and a function of the country’s tax exemption code for foundations. Nitasha Tiku, Washington Post, "The billionaire boom," 12 Mar. 2021 Playfully sitting on a child’s sled, with his arms encircling one of his young daughters, Schuyler personifies a benevolent, gentle masculinity. Janette Greenwood, The Conversation, "How Black Americans used portraits and family photographs to defy stereotypes," 8 Mar. 2021 In listing the benefits of working at Acuity, a relatively small midwestern insurance firm with 1,500 employees, CEO Ben Salzmann sounds less like an executive and more like some kind of benevolent adult daycare provider. Time, "Why This Insurance Company's Employees Say it's Been One of the Best Places to Work During the Pandemic," 5 Mar. 2021 But his theory of change is one of benevolent intellectual property domination. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "The Dark Side of Bill Gates’s Climate Techno-Optimism," 3 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'benevolent.' 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 benevolent

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for benevolent

Middle English, from Latin benevolent-, benevolens, from bene + volent-, volens, present participle of velle to wish — more at will

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Time Traveler for benevolent

Time Traveler

The first known use of benevolent was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

23 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Benevolent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/benevolent. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for benevolent

benevolent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of benevolent

: kind and generous
: organized to do good things for other people

benevolent

adjective
be·​nev·​o·​lent | \ bə-ˈne-və-lənt How to pronounce benevolent (audio) \

Kids Definition of benevolent

1 : having a desire to do good : kindly a benevolent organization
2 : marked by or suggestive of a kindly feeling a benevolent face

Other Words from benevolent

benevolently adverb smiled benevolently

Comments on benevolent

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