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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Erica Tishman, a 60-year-old architect and philanthropist, was killed in Midtown Manhattan by a piece of a building’s facade in December. Tyler Blint-welsh, WSJ, "Woman Killed By Falling Plywood From Queens Building," 16 Jan. 2020 Billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer is sporting a unique accessory at today’s debate — markings on his hand that have many on social media raising their eyebrows. Ben Kamisar, NBC News, "What’s on Steyer’s hand?," 15 Jan. 2020 At least one element of the mystery came to an end on Monday, when the Durham Constabulary said that two people had come forward as the village’s philanthropists. Iliana Magra, New York Times, "Cash Appeared on Their Streets for Years. Now, Villagers Know Why.," 14 Jan. 2020 Equinox was created by three Loveland residents – figurative sculptor Jack Kreutzer, structural engineer and artist Doug Rutledge, and artist and philanthropist Doug Erion – and was inspired by the art of Arapaho and Cheyenne Plains Indians. USA TODAY, "MLK, robot unemployment, Python Bowl: News from around our 50 states," 14 Jan. 2020 The Sackler family — once known as global philanthropists backed by a fortune made from opioids and other drugs — have offered to pay $3 billion as part of a $10 billion settlement to resolve lawsuits against them and Purdue Pharma LP., "Biogen buys experimental Alzheimer’s disease drug from Pfizer," 13 Jan. 2020 The first-ever chair of its kind at an HBCU will be made possible through a $2 million fundraising effort to be matched by philanthropist Jon Stryker. Tanya A. Christian, Essence, "LeBron James To Open Transitional Housing For I Promise Students + 9 Other Headlines We're Talking About," 13 Jan. 2020 Meghan, who worked as an actress and philanthropist before marrying Harry, listed her professional experience and called herself a feminist in her official biography on the royal family's website. Caroline Linton, CBS News, "Prince Harry and Meghan stepping away from "senior" royal roles," 8 Jan. 2020 The popular private equity executive and Dallas philanthropist had just been discharged from the hospital and carried just 120 pounds on his 6-foot-1 frame after suffering complications from cancer surgery. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, "After facing down death, Steve Durham renews his passion for life, Horatio Alger," 5 Jan. 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.

See More

First Known Use of philanthropist

circa 1736, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for philanthropist

see philanthropy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about philanthropist

Time Traveler for philanthropist

Time Traveler

The first known use of philanthropist was circa 1736

See more words from the same year

Statistics for philanthropist

Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Philanthropist.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on philanthropist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for philanthropist

Spanish Central: Translation of philanthropist

Nglish: Translation of philanthropist for Spanish Speakers

Comments on philanthropist

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


showing steady, earnest care and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!