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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The expansion will double the Center’s current capacity to 215 beds and create an endowment to support it. Wheeler Mission, Indianapolis Star, "True to its roots: Wheeler Mission focuses on women and homelessness," 20 June 2018 The symphony’s current budget is about $7 million, which would call for an endowment in the $20 million range. Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, "Task force releases strategic plan for the San Antonio Symphony," 19 June 2018 To understand the difference in giving power between Texas A&M’s donors and Florida State’s donors, consider the two schools’ endowments. Andy Staples, SI.com, "The Message Behind the Money: How Texas A&M Landed Jimbo Fisher," 28 June 2018 Overall, women account for nearly 60 percent of the speakers at the 25 schools that have the largest endowments and traditionally carry the clout to draw big names to the lectern. Collin Binkley, The Christian Science Monitor, "#MeToo movement brings a wave of female graduation speakers," 9 May 2018 The donations are part of the charitable endowment's package of $313,000 in grants for various social, arts, cultural and educational programs in the region. Courant Community, "New Britain Summer Youth Programs Get Financial Boost," 4 May 2018 An endowment fund and money raised from a yearly golf tournament figure into the budget. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "St. James Gym To Be Named For Rev. John O'Neill," 27 June 2018 Like other schools, Quinnipiac’s endowment lost money in the 2008 credit crisis. Dawn Lim, WSJ, "How One Small School’s Endowment Is Topping the Class," 24 June 2018 During his presidency, the university’s endowment rose to $631 million from $345 million. Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, "Douglas Bennet, Who Led NPR and Wesleyan, Dies at 79," 13 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.

See More

First Known Use of endowment

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about endowment

Dictionary Entries near endowment








Statistics for endowment

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for endowment

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more



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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on endowment

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


one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!