charity

noun
char·​i·​ty | \ ˈcher-ə-tē How to pronounce charity (audio) , ˈcha-rə-\
plural charities

Definition of charity

1a : generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering also : aid given to those in need received charity from the neighbors
b : an institution engaged in relief of the poor raised funds for several charities
c : public provision for the relief of the needy too proud to accept charity
2 : benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity The holidays are a time for charity and goodwill.
3a : a gift for public benevolent purposes
b : an institution (such as a hospital) founded by such a gift
4 : lenient judgment of others The critic was liked for his charity and moderation.

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for charity

mercy, charity, clemency, grace, leniency mean a disposition to show kindness or compassion. mercy implies compassion that forbears punishing even when justice demands it. threw himself on the mercy of the court charity stresses benevolence and goodwill shown in broad understanding and tolerance of others. show a little charity for the less fortunate clemency implies a mild or merciful disposition in one having the power or duty of punishing. the judge refused to show clemency grace implies a benign attitude and a willingness to grant favors or make concessions. by the grace of God leniency implies lack of severity in punishing. criticized the courts for excessive leniency

Examples of charity in a Sentence

The holidays are a time for charity and good will. She refused to accept charity. The dinner was held to raise funds for several charities. She runs a local charity that gives books to children. All the money will go to charity.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

That's insane to give him any credit for giving one dollar to a charity. Elizabeth Angell, Town & Country, "The Good Place Creator Michael Schur on How He Made Philosophy a Pop Culture Phenomenon," 6 Dec. 2018 Giving has long been a part of my family’s holiday tradition (though hopefully not just then), including Toys for Tots, packing Thanksgiving meals for the elderly, or, in recent years, skipping gifts and jointly donating to charity. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "An Over-The-Top, Über-Luxurious Gift Guide? Not This Year, Thanks," 3 Dec. 2018 MGM Resorts International on Tuesday offered survivors of the Las Vegas mass shooting the option of having the money that would be used to serve them a lawsuit donated to charity instead, drawing rebuke from victims’ attorneys. Fox News, "MGM offers donation of nearly $1M on behalf of Vegas massacre victims it's suing," 12 Sep. 2018 Contributions in his memory may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. Sun-Sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 7/13," 13 July 2018 This North Shore summer food festival that is dedicated to charity holds a special niche in the food fest universe, organizers say. Gina Grillo, chicagotribune.com, "Taste of Evanston a culinary showcase of 'best our community has to offer': Mayor," 10 July 2018 GreenDrop sells donated goods and gives the proceeds to the National Federation of the Blind and other charities. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "9 New Ways to Donate Your Clothes," 27 Feb. 2019 Most of the migrants are being sent to shelters run by charities. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Mexican Authorities Relocate Hundreds of Migrants From Border City," 15 Feb. 2019 Since then, Katie has become a cancer activist and even co-founded the charity Stand Up for Cancer. Michelle Manetti, Good Housekeeping, "Get to Know Katie Couric's Daughters and Husband Before Ellie Monahan's Wedding," 12 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'charity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of charity

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for charity

Middle English charite, from Anglo-French charité, from Late Latin caritat-, caritas Christian love, from Latin, dearness, from carus dear; akin to Old Irish carae friend, Sanskrit kāma love

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about charity

Statistics for charity

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for charity

The first known use of charity was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for charity

charity

noun

English Language Learners Definition of charity

: the act of giving money, food, or other kinds of help to people who are poor, sick, etc. also : something (such as money or food) that is given to people who are poor, sick, etc.
: an organization that helps people who are poor, sick, etc.
: the organizations that help people in need

charity

noun
char·​i·​ty | \ ˈcher-ə-tē How to pronounce charity (audio) \
plural charities

Kids Definition of charity

1 : love for others
2 : kindliness especially in judging others … I pray you mercy of my fault, and that ye will of your kindness and your charity forgive it …— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee
3 : the giving of aid to the needy
4 : aid (as food or money) given to those in need
5 : an organization or fund for helping the needy

charity

noun
char·​i·​ty
plural charities

Legal Definition of charity

: a gift for humanitarian, philanthropic, or other purposes beneficial to the public (as maintaining a public building) also : an institution (as a hospital or school) or organization founded by such a gift — compare private foundation

Note: Statutory definitions of what institutions and organizations qualify as charities vary. Organizations that are primarily involved in political campaigns or lobbying do not qualify as charities for tax purposes, but trusts for them may be considered charitable. In addition to tax-exempt status, charities have also generally been granted immunity from tort suits.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on charity

What made you want to look up charity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!