en·​dow·​ment | \in-ˈdau̇-mənt, 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

Rienzi has an annual budget of $1.5 million and Bayou Bend $4.6 million; each came with an endowment that is augmented by active fundraising. Kyle Chayka, Town & Country, "Why Is It So Hard to Donate Your Mansion to a Museum?," 14 Oct. 2016 Johns Hopkins’ endowment before the gift was $3.8 billion, according to a 2017 study by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Douglas Belkin, WSJ, "Michael Bloomberg to Give Johns Hopkins Record $1.8 Billion," 18 Nov. 2018 Do: Peabody Essex Museum Thanks to a new building in 2003 and one of the country's most ambitious capital campaigns, the Peabody Essex Museum is now one of the largest museums in the country in terms of both gallery space and endowment. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips From Boston," 9 Aug. 2018 The feedback from the tour will inform the foundation’s objectives and the designation of grant and endowment funds next year. Maya Moore, Courant Community, "The Hartford Foundation's Listening Tour To Stop In Wethersfield Next," 5 July 2018 The symphony’s small endowment is administered by the San Antonio Area Foundation. Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, "After a bumpy season, the San Antonio Symphony in a stronger, sunnier place," 3 July 2018 The project calls for a $350- to $400-million capital campaign in all, which includes $100 million toward LACMA's endowment (then at $77 million). Deborah Vankin, latimes.com, "LACMA's campus has been a work in progress since its 1965 opening," 3 July 2018 And while the ultra-rich would seem the obvious losers, much of this could be felt in teacher retirement funds, municipal bonds and college endowments. Philip Elliott, Time, "Republican Allies Warn Trump on Trade," 2 July 2018 Protecting donor funds Dealing with reputable investment professionals is paramount for college endowments. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "How a down-and-out broker got University of Michigan to invest $95M," 22 June 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

6 Dec 2018

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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 \

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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a nest or breeding place

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