Definition of charity
1 : benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity <The holidays are a time for charity and goodwill.>
2a : 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>
3a : a gift for public benevolent purposesb : an institution (as a hospital) founded by such a gift
4 : lenient judgment of others <The critic was liked for his charity and moderation.>
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.
Origin and Etymology of 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
First Known Use: 13th century
Synonym Discussion of charity
CHARITY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of charity for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of charity for Students
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
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
Additional Notes on charity
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.
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