do·​na·​tion | \ dō-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce donation (audio) \

Definition of donation

: the act or an instance of donating: such as
a : the making of a gift especially to a charity or public institution
b : a free contribution : gift

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of donation in a Sentence

The organization is funded by private donations. We are grateful for the donation of whatever you can afford to give. trying to encourage the donation of blood
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The donations didn't just come from Macomb County, but across Michigan, as far as Kalamazoo and Grandville, said Julie Risch, president of the memorial garden, who is from Romeo and lives in Kalamazoo. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Town overcame senseless tragedy. Now, it's vying to be the nation's nicest place," 9 July 2019 Kait Bowdler, director of sustainability for the local food-rescue organization Philabundance, said that although donations were down last year, that was due to economic and climate factors, not the rise of ugly-produce companies. Allison Steele, Twin Cities, "Misshapen vegetables and puny fruits: Why weird-looking produce is becoming big business," 9 July 2019 The other $10,000 donation from the fundraiser came from the Carrington Charitable Foundation. Washington Post, "Widow rallies donors to continue kids’ grief counseling," 8 July 2019 More than half the donations are from local supporters. Linda Gandee/special To,, "Westlake resident swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco Bay to raise money for dementia awareness," 8 July 2019 At the time, the size of the donation was unprecedented for a public park. John King,, "Change of leaders at Bay Area parks conservancy signals view on the future," 7 July 2019 The average donation for the quarter was $18, the campaign said, with nearly half of donors under the age of 40. NBC News, "Going it alone: Booker proposes day-one immigration fixes that don’t need congress," 3 July 2019 The $10,000 donation came courtesy of country music star Chris Stapleton, a Kentucky native who grew up in Staffordsville, and his wife Morgane Stapleton. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Chris and Morgane Stapleton Make Surprise $10,000 Donation to Lexington Habitat for Humanity," 3 July 2019 Defenders argue that the donation fueled reforms that helped students, and point to rising test scores and graduation rates in Newark as evidence that the disruption worked. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Mark Zuckerberg wanted to help Newark schools. Newarkers say they weren’t heard.," 3 July 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for donation

Middle English donatyowne, from Latin donation-, donatio, from donare to present, from donum gift; akin to Latin dare to give — more at date

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about donation

Statistics for donation

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for donation

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for donation



English Language Learners Definition of donation

: something (such as money, food, clothes, etc.) that you give in order to help a person or organization
: something (such as blood or a body organ) that you give to a hospital or clinic so that it can be given to someone who needs it


do·​na·​tion | \ dō-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce donation (audio) \

Kids Definition of donation

: something given to help those in need a donation to charity



Legal Definition of donation

1 : the making of an especially charitable gift
2 in the civil law of Louisiana : a voluntary transfer of ownership of property from one person to another — compare sale
disguised donation
: a transfer of property (as a sale) that does not have a sufficient reciprocal consideration (as a proportional price) so that it is considered a gratuitous donation and must meet the statutory requirements for a donation (as a notarial act) to be valid

called also donation in disguise

— compare simulation
donation inter vivos \ -​ˌin-​tər-​ˈvī-​ˌvōs, -​ˌin-​ter-​ˈvē-​ˌvōs \
: a donation that transfers property owned by the donor and that takes effect upon the donee's acceptance — compare gift inter vivos at gift
donation mortis causa \ -​ˈmȯr-​tis-​ˈkȯ-​zə, -​ˈmȯr-​tēs-​ˈkau̇-​sä \
: a donation that is to take effect on the donor's death and that is revocable — compare gift causa mortis at gift
3 : something that is transferred by a donation

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on donation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with donation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for donation

Spanish Central: Translation of donation

Nglish: Translation of donation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of donation for Arabic Speakers

Comments on donation

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


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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