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

Within hours of its release, the Council of Institutional Investors fired back on behalf of its members, which include more than 100 employee benefit plans, endowments, and foundations with some $4 trillion of assets. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "CEOs Say They Want to Look Beyond Shareholders—But the Law May Get In the Way," 26 Aug. 2019 An anonymous $5 million gift will create a new endowment and fund new staff positions and technology purchases at Trinity University to improve student accessibility, the university announced Monday. Liz Teitz, ExpressNews.com, "Trinity University has a $5 million benefactor," 12 Aug. 2019 Proceeds will benefit the society’s endowment and preservation funds. Ruth Sowby Rands, latimes.com, "On the Town: Historical society marks 40th during annual gala," 2 July 2019 Some of the world’s biggest investors such as pensions, endowments and sovereign-wealth funds measure their performance against major indexes. Asjylyn Loder, WSJ, "Russell Rebalancing Brings Frenzy to a Summer Friday," 27 June 2019 But there was a huge run — a panic — by institutional investors (pension funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, endowments) that withdrew funds from traditional banks, investment banks and the commercial paper market. Robert Samuelson, Twin Cities, "Robert Samuelson: Tear up the (economic) textbooks — and start over!," 26 June 2019 Sexton Smith has worked to connect at least one interested donor, businessman Stuart Ray, to the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation, to explore the creation of some kind of pools endowment or fundraiser opportunity. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville pools get late push from city lawmakers to open one for part of the summer," 13 June 2019 Echols said Highland Associates has experienced growth in not-for-profit healthcare, foundations and endowments. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al.com, "Regions Bank to acquire Highland Associates," 7 June 2019 The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a couple wishing to remain anonymous donated the money, which puts $50 million in the orchestra’s endowment and $5 million into the coffers for general operating costs. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "An interstellar meteor may have slammed into Earth," 16 Apr. 2019

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

13 Sep 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

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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