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 The local Boy Scouts of America organization is weighing the status of controversial philanthropist Marge Schott's name on several of its facilities, including its headquarters in Evendale and a lake near Loveland. Cole Behrens, The Enquirer, "Local Boy Scouts organization discussing status of Marge Schott's name on building, lake," 24 June 2020 Bing was a philanthropist who pledged a $30 million legacy gift to the Motion Picture & Television Fund in 2012. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Movie producer Steve Bing, 'Polar Express' financier and ex to Elizabeth Hurley, dies at 55," 23 June 2020 Steve Bing, a movie producer, philanthropist, and Elizabeth Hurley's ex, died on Monday at the age of 55. Rachel Yang,, "Steve Bing, movie producer and Elizabeth Hurley's ex, dies at 55," 23 June 2020 Charlottesville’s statue was a gift of a prominent local philanthropist, Paul Goodloe McIntire. Allison Anna Tait, The Conversation, "Latest legal hurdle to removing Confederate statues in Virginia: The wishes of their long-dead white donors," 19 June 2020 Among their targets, as in Hungary, is the liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros. The Economist, "Barbarians at the gates Slovenia’s prime minister hunts for enemies," 4 June 2020 Melinda Gates, philanthropist and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says that after health care workers, Black people must be next in line for vaccination for COVID-19, according to a story on Live24. Donnelle Eller, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Melinda Gates didn't exactly say Black people 'must' be vaccinated for COVID-19," 14 June 2020 On annual memorial days throughout the century that followed, Bristol’s schoolchildren remembered Colston as a philanthropist not a slaver. The Economist, "Black Lives Matter protests The Colston statue and Britain’s legacy of slavery," 13 June 2020 On June 7, protesters in Bristol, England, pulled down a 125-year-old statue of slave trader and philanthropist Edward Colston and threw it into the city’s harbor. Suyin Haynes, Time, "As Protesters Shine a Spotlight on Racial Injustice in America, the Reckoning Is Going Global," 11 June 2020

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

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Philanthropist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for philanthropist


How to pronounce philanthropist (audio)

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

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Spanish Central: Translation of philanthropist

Nglish: Translation of philanthropist for Spanish Speakers

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