phi·​lan·​thro·​pist | \ fə-ˈlan(t)-thrə-pist How to pronounce philanthropist (audio) \

Definition of philanthropist

: one who makes an active effort to promote human welfare : a person who practices philanthropy

Examples of philanthropist in a Sentence

Among his converts was Arthur Tappan, a New York textile merchant and philanthropist who sheltered and guided the development of the antislavery movement through its long early years by dint of sheer openhandedness. — Marilynne Robinson, The Death of Adam, (1998) 2005 John D. was indisputably a great philanthropist. He took care of his family first, of course; but he founded the University of Chicago in 1892, the Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller University) in 1901, and the Rockefeller Foundation in 1911, and made other substantial gifts along the way. — Robert M. Solow, New Republic, 23 Dec. 2002 You had to admire it and admire the man, who sat now like a benign locust, his slender insectile body swamped in a black leather chair, leaning over the desk, all smiles, a parasite disguised as a philanthropist. — Zadie Smith, White Teeth, 2000 … a hundred-and-one-year-old Jewish philanthropist in Hartsdale named Henry J. Gaisman donated two and a quarter million dollars to the Archdiocese to purchase the property and preserve the integrity of the landmark. — Brendan Gill, New Yorker, 10 June 1991
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Recent Examples on the Web It was owned by the philanthropist and socialite Rebekah Harkness, who was good friends with the artist and owned several jewels designed by him. Jill N Newman, Town & Country, 4 June 2021 Goodall, 87, is only the fourth woman to win the award, established by the late investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton to honor those who use science to explore humankind’s place and purpose within the universe. The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 May 2021 The donor, John Beresford Tipton — the best name for a plutocrat since Scrooge McDuck — withheld his identity from the recipient; the gift was supposed to be an anonymous rain of wealth, not an ego trip for the philanthropist. Washington Post, 21 May 2021 Established in 1972 by the late philanthropist Sir John Templeton, the Templeton Prize is one of the world's largest individual awards — currently valued at 1.1 million pounds, or $1.56 million. David Crary, Star Tribune, 20 May 2021 He will be joined by an international team of space rookies: American entrepreneur Larry Connor, Israeli investor and former fighter pilot Eytan Stibbe, and Canadian investor and philanthropist Mark Pathy. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 11 May 2021 Joining him will be Larry Connor, an American entrepreneur, Canadian investor and philanthropist Mark Pathy and Israeli investor Eytan Stibbe, a former fighter pilot. William Harwood, CBS News, 10 May 2021 Nas is also an investor, philanthropist, and father. Afdhel Aziz, Forbes, 6 Apr. 2021 That’s why last fall, Wendy Yu—investor, philanthropist, and the namesake of the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—launched the Yu Prize, a program to scout and support emerging designers in China. Emily Farra, Vogue, 4 Mar. 2021

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

circa 1736, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for philanthropist

see philanthropy

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Time Traveler for philanthropist

Time Traveler

The first known use of philanthropist was circa 1736

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Statistics for philanthropist

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Philanthropist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for philanthropist



English Language Learners Definition of philanthropist

: a wealthy person who gives money and time to help make life better for other people


phi·​lan·​thro·​pist | \ fə-ˈlan-thrə-pəst How to pronounce philanthropist (audio) \

Kids Definition of philanthropist

: a person who gives generously to help other people

More from Merriam-Webster on philanthropist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for philanthropist

Nglish: Translation of philanthropist for Spanish Speakers


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