emol·​u·​ment | \i-ˈmäl-yə-mənt \

Definition of emolument 

1 : the returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites

2 archaic : advantage

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Synonyms for emolument


hire, packet [British], pay, pay envelope, paycheck, payment, salary, stipend, wage

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To Sir Thomas Williams Person of the Parish ... of Saint Andrew at Baynards Castle in London for his yearly pension 40 shillings ... in recompense of certain offerings, oblations, and emoluments unto the said benefice due.... Thus was recorded in "The Wardrobe Accounts of Edward the Fourth," along with every expense of the realm, the first ever known use of "emolument." By the year 1480, when that entry was made, Latin emolumentum had come to mean simply "profit" or "gain"; it had become removed from its own Latin predecessor, the verb molere, meaning "to grind." The original connection between the noun and this verb was its reference to the profit or gain from grinding another's grain. (The notion of grinding away at our jobs didn't show up in our language until the 1800s.)

Examples of emolument in a Sentence

the annual emolument for the director of the charity is officially only one dollar

Recent Examples on the Web

One clause bars federal officers from taking gifts, or emoluments, from foreign governments. Washington Post, "Obscure no more, the emoluments clause is back again in a federal court," 11 June 2018 In December, a federal judge in NY ruled that plaintiffs in two other emoluments suits lacked standing, so dismissed the case. Katelyn Polantz, CNN, "Judge says emoluments case against Trump can proceed in DC," 28 Mar. 2018 The case in Messitte’s court is one of three emoluments lawsuits against Trump. Washington Post, "Judge peppers lawyers on Trump business with foreign gov’ts," 11 June 2018 The emoluments clause is largely unexplored legal territory, the judge noted. Gregory Wallace, CNN, "Trump admin says Trump can profit from foreign hotel guests," 11 June 2018 Some critics say the payments may violate a provision of the Constitution known as the domestic emoluments clause. Cristina Alesci, CNN, "Exclusive: Defense Dept. charged nearly $140,000 at Trump branded properties," 14 Mar. 2018 Other legal experts, however, contend that domestic emoluments are allowable so long as Mr. Trump does not earn them from his service as president. Steve Eder And Ben Protess, New York Times, "Hotel Carrying New Trump Brand Secures $6 Million Tax Break," 21 Feb. 2018 Legal experts give the two remaining emoluments clause lawsuits a remote chance of succeeding. Nina Burleigh, Newsweek, "Trump vs. Mueller: Is the American Legal System Any Match for the President?," 8 Mar. 2018 Trump administration lawyers have argued that earnings from such business activity, including hotel room stays, don’t qualify as emoluments. Amy Brittainand Ashley Parker, BostonGlobe.com, "Kushner, Ivanka Trump made at least $82m in outside income in ’17," 11 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for emolument

Middle English, from Latin emolumentum advantage, from emolere to produce by grinding, from e- + molere to grind — more at meal

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Emory oak


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Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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

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emol·​u·​ment | \i-ˈmäl-yə-mənt \

Legal Definition of emolument 

: a return arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites the President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation…and he shall not receive within that period any other emolumentU.S. Constitution art. II

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to enclose within walls

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