en·​dow·​ment | \ in-ˈdau̇-mənt How to pronounce endowment (audio) , en-\

Definition of endowment

1 : the act or process of endowing
2 : something that is endowed specifically : the part of an institution's income derived from donations
3 : natural capacity, power, or ability a person of great intellectual endowment

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Examples of endowment in a Sentence

The hospital's endowment was established by a local family. The college has a large endowment. the endowment of a hospital wing
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Recent Examples on the Web

Growth in college endowments slowed to 8% last year, due largely to stock-market declines. Douglas Belkin, WSJ, "Growth in College Endowments Slowed in 2018," 31 Jan. 2019 But the endowment was hardly enough to cover costs, so taxpayers have been on the hook for the difference. Steve Friess, New York Times, "In the Car Museum Race, Some Drop Out," 10 May 2018 The oil and gas companies seem to be doing pretty well regardless of $6 trillion having been divested by various college funds and other endowments over the last several years. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Can consumer choices ward off the worst effects of climate change? An expert explains.," 12 Oct. 2018 Rosemont College in suburban Philadelphia has 635 undergraduates and a minuscule endowment of around $17.2 million. Allen C. Guelzo, WSJ, "America’s Disappearing Private Colleges," 21 Feb. 2019 Another Trust property, the Glass House, which has a substantial endowment that the Farnsworth House doesn’t have, also does its best to broaden its appeal and relevance, with art shows and special events throughout the year. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rethinking the modern house museum," 12 Oct. 2018 And, Perrette, who studied criminology at Georgia's Valdosta State University, has set up endowments at her alma mater and New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Science to provide scholarships in forensic science. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "Pauley Perrette says fans will need 'a couple boxes of tissues' for Abby's 'NCIS' exit," 7 May 2018 Now Beijing, facing capital outflows and a shrinking trade surplus, is opening the door wider to foreign institutions such as central banks and university endowment funds. Shen Hong, WSJ, "Foreign Investors Invade China’s Cozy Treasury Market," 19 Nov. 2018 Any costs for treatment not covered by the family’s insurance will be picked up by the Shriners endowment fund. Mari A. Schaefer, Philly.com, "Teen Canadian hockey player paralyzed in bus crash to rehab at Shriners Hospital," 31 May 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for endowment

Last Updated

24 May 2019

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Time Traveler for endowment

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

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More Definitions for endowment



Financial Definition of endowment

What It Is

An endowment is any asset donated to and for the perpetual benefit of a non-profit institution. The donation is usually made with the requirement that the principal remain intact and money earned from investing the principal be used for a specific purpose.

How It Works

In the broadest sense, an endowment is a donation that is given to a non-profit institution on the condition that it is used for the benefit of that organization. Most endowments are designed to provide a permanent source of income by keeping the original amount invested and using the accrued income from dividends for its charitable purpose.

An example of an endowment is a sizable donation to a university on the condition that it is invested and that the proceeds from the investment are used for an annual undergraduate scholarship.

Why It Matters

Endowments are given to non-profit organizations with the intention that they be used to advance the mission of the organization for the long term. Endowments of large institutions, such as major private universities, sometimes become significant players in the financial world due to the significant amount of money that the endowment is investing.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of endowment

: a large amount of money that has been given to a school, hospital, etc., and that is used to pay for its creation and continuing support
: the act of providing money to create or support a school, organization, etc.
: a person's natural ability or talent


en·​dow·​ment | \ in-ˈdau̇-mənt How to pronounce endowment (audio) \

Kids Definition of endowment

1 : the act of providing money for support
2 : money provided for support a college's endowment

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Legal Definition of endowment

1 : the act or process of endowing
2 : a result or product of endowing: as
a : the income of an institution derived from donations the university's ability to attract endowment
b : the property (as a fund) donated to an institution or organization that is invested and producing income an endowment to maintain the gallery
3 : an endowed organization or institution : foundation chairwoman of the state's arts endowment

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Comments on endowment

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to mark by some ceremony or observation

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