charity

noun
char·​i·​ty | \ ˈcher-ə-tē, 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

The Crazy Rich Asians star attended as an ambassador of Moët & Chandon’s charity initiative, Toast for a Cause, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last night. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Gemma Chan’s Golden Globes Debut Took $500,000 Worth of Diamonds and an Angelina Jolie Slit," 8 Jan. 2019 Meanwhile, the independent charity Crimestoppers is offering a £50,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction of the drone operators. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "We Still Know So Alarmingly Little About How a Drone Shut Down an Airport for Two Days," 3 Jan. 2019 The phenomenon is widely practiced and promoted in the U.K. through a public-health campaign started by the charity Alcohol Change UK in 2013. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "The Dry January Effect," 1 Jan. 2019 And now, with a best-selling book to their names, a number of the ladies at Hubb are now involved in new charity projects of their own. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle in 2018: Why the Duchess of Success Is Just Getting Started," 31 Dec. 2018 At the time, Susan was an unemployed charity worker living alone with her cat Pebbles. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Untold Story of 'AGT' Star Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" Audition," 19 Dec. 2018 Carolyn Kenyon and Judith Jones raised $12,500 and sent it to the debt-forgiveness charity R.I.P. Medical Debt, which then bought a portfolio of $1.5 million of medical debts for half a penny on the dollar on their behalf. Korin Miller, SELF, "How 2 Women Bought and Forgave More Than $1 Million in Strangers' Medical Debt," 7 Dec. 2018 Following their gorgeous destination wedding in Italy last spring, the couple jetted off to Ecuador to do community-building work for the charity organization WE—and famously invited Drew's twin brother Jonathan along! Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Property Brothers' Drew Scott on Balancing Work and Married Life With Wife Linda," 19 Nov. 2018 National charity shops Goodwill and Salvation Army have locations around the country. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Where to donate furniture and household items," 8 Nov. 2018

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

10 Jan 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 \
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

important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!