noun phi·lan·thro·py \fə-ˈlan(t)-thrə-pē\

Definition of philanthropy



  1. 1 :  goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially :  active effort to promote human welfare

  2. 2a :  an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposesb :  an organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes

Examples of philanthropy in a sentence

  1. For many years, Microsoft has used corporate philanthropy to bring technology to people who can't get it otherwise, donating more than $3 billion in cash and software to try to bridge the digital divide. —Bill Gates, Time, 11 Aug. 2008

  2. Cooper, born in New York City in 1791, was himself an inventor and a hands-on industrialist, whose fortune got its start in the glue business, greatly expanded in the iron industry, eventually included more than half the telegraph lines in the United States, and was significantly invested in philanthropy and the cause of public education. —John Updike, New York Review of Books, 10 Aug. 2006

  3. In conditions of anarchy, a crude and violent order, based upon brute force and psychopathic ruthlessness, soon establishes itself, which regards philanthropy not as a friend but as an enemy and a threat. —Theodore Dalrymple, National Review, 26 Sept. 2005

  4. The family's philanthropy made it possible to build the public library.

  5. among the industrialist's philanthropies was a college scholarship fund for deserving students from the inner city

Recent Examples of philanthropy from the web

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Did You Know?

With its anthro- root, philanthropy means literally "love of mankind". Thus, philanthropy is giving money for a purpose or cause benefiting people who you don't personally know. (Animals are usually included as well.) Individuals have often set up their own permanent philanthropic organizations in the form of foundations. The greatest American philanthropists have included Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller, but tens of millions of us could be considered philanthropists on a much smaller scale.

Origin and Etymology of philanthropy

Late Latin philanthropia, from Greek philanthrōpia, from philanthrōpos loving people, from phil- + anthrōpos human being

First Known Use: circa 1623

PHILANTHROPY Defined for English Language Learners


noun phi·lan·thro·py \fə-ˈlan(t)-thrə-pē\

Definition of philanthropy for English Language Learners

  • : the practice of giving money and time to help make life better for other people

PHILANTHROPY Defined for Kids


noun phi·lan·thro·py \fə-ˈlan-thrə-pē\

Definition of philanthropy for Students



  1. 1 :  desire and active effort to help other people

  2. 2 :  something done or given to help needy people

  3. 3 :  an organization giving or supported by charitable gifts

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