gain·​ful | \ ˈgān-fəl How to pronounce gainful (audio) \

Definition of gainful

: productive of gain : profitable gainful employment

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gainful

gainfully \ ˈgān-​fə-​lē How to pronounce gainfully (audio) \ adverb
gainfulness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for gainful


economic, fat, juicy, lucrative, money-spinning [chiefly British], moneymaking, paying, profitable, remunerative



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of gainful in a Sentence

graduated from school and went looking for gainful employment

Recent Examples on the Web

The top two goals the men cite most often are spending more time with their children and finding more gainful employment, Perry said. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "'Venting and getting knowledge.' How Kentucky dads can learn skills to connect with kids," 14 June 2019 Finding gainful employment is the most effective deterrent to falling back into a life of crime, studies show. Zolan Kanno-youngs, WSJ, "‘I Thought I Was Done For’: Tight Job Market Opens Doors for Ex-Convicts," 19 Dec. 2018 America must restore the norm of gainful employment for all who are mentally and physically able and are not working in the home. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Work: The New Political Breakthrough," 20 Nov. 2018 This makes it that much harder for people with bad credit to get the gainful employment needed to repair their scores. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Spend “frivolously” and be penalized under China’s new social credit system," 2 Nov. 2018 DeVos has ordered that this federal regulation, called the gainful-employment rule, be overhauled. Jon Marcus /, NBC News, "As the Trump administration pulls back, states step in to regulate questionable colleges," 6 July 2018 Other countries are trying harder to get women into gainful employment. The Economist, "Why India needs women to work," 5 July 2018 After reviewing student loan borrower claims and other records, the department determined 51 Corinthian programs had met guidelines for instruction that leads to gainful employment, while six had failed. Kevin Mccoy, USA TODAY, "Student loans: Former Corinthian Colleges students win a reprieve in fight with feds," 27 May 2018 The system has a terrible track record of ushering poor recipients into gainful employment. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Macron’s Next Good Fight," 21 June 2018

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

1553, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gainful

gain entry 1 + -ful entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gainful

Statistics for gainful

Last Updated

27 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gainful

The first known use of gainful was in 1553

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gainful



English Language Learners Definition of gainful

: paying money


gain·​ful | \ ˈgān-fəl How to pronounce gainful (audio) \

Kids Definition of gainful

: producing gain : making money She found gainful employment.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on gainful

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gainful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gainful

Spanish Central: Translation of gainful

Nglish: Translation of gainful for Spanish Speakers

Comments on gainful

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


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
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!