noun, often attributive
prof·​it | \ ˈprä-fət How to pronounce profit (audio) \

Definition of profit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a valuable return : gain
2 : the excess of returns over expenditure in a transaction or series of transactions especially : the excess of the selling price of goods over their cost
3 : net income usually for a given period of time
4 : the ratio of profit for a given year to the amount of capital invested or to the value of sales
5 : the compensation accruing to entrepreneurs for the assumption of risk in business enterprise as distinguished from wages or rent


profited; profiting; profits

Definition of profit (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to be of service or advantage : avail
2 : to derive benefit : gain
3 : to make a profit

transitive verb

: to be of service to : benefit

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from profit


profitless \ ˈprä-​fət-​ləs How to pronounce profitless (audio) \ adjective
profitwise \ ˈprä-​fət-​ˌwīz How to pronounce profitwise (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for profit

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of profit in a Sentence

Noun The company made a profit this year. Profits are up from last year. There was a rise in profits this year. The profits from CD sales were donated to charity. The organization is not run for profit. The film made $1,000,000 in profit. The book can be read with profit by anyone who wants to understand how the system works. Verb It would profit him to take some computer classes. The company has profited by selling its products online. He profited greatly from his investments. The island profits from tourism.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The bank reported a loss of 295 million euros, or $320 million, in the quarter, compared with a profit of €122 million a year earlier. New York Times, "Global Markets Fall, Extending Wall Street’s Losses: Live Updates," 13 May 2020 The firm’s parent Swire Pacific Ltd. reported its steepest drop in profits since the Asian financial crisis earlier this month. Apple Lam,, "China’s Fresh Green Debt Is Drying Up as Virus Hits Economy," 12 May 2020 The airline industry raked in record profits for a decade, due to lower jet fuel prices and consolidation through a series of mergers. NBC News, "Coronavirus pandemic could force a major U.S. airline out of business, says Boeing CEO," 12 May 2020 Revenue from those credits came to $354 million in the quarter ended March 31, when the company reported an overall profit of $68 million. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Does Elon Musk need California more than California needs Elon Musk?," 11 May 2020 Neiman Marcus posted an operating profit of $128 million that was swallowed by its $245 million interest expense for the period. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Debt-burdened Neiman Marcus runs out of options, files to reorganize in bankruptcy," 7 May 2020 Zillow turned an average profit of $140 on each home sold in the first quarter through its Zillow Offers service, up from an average loss of $6,400 in the previous quarter. R.a. Schuetz, Houston Chronicle, "iBuyers ease back into buying homes," 7 May 2020 The automaker reported a net profit of just $294 million, down 86.7% from $2.1 billion for the first quarter a year ago. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "General Motors made $294 million net income in first quarter, down 87%," 6 May 2020 The maker of nylon and other materials for the auto industry on Tuesday posted a net loss of $616 million, or 83 cents a share, compared with a profit of $521 million, or 69 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Dave Sebastian, WSJ, "DuPont Swings to Loss, Posts Lower Sales," 5 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Even some of my educated, generally thoughtful friends had been taken in by the film’s suggestion that the coronavirus pandemic was a hoax engineered by a greedy cabal of global elites in order to profit off a vaccine. David Leonhardt, New York Times, "Coronavirus, Michael Flynn, Federal Reserve: Your Thursday Briefing," 14 May 2020 Harbaugh believes most of the higher parties involved in collegiate professional sports have been able to profit off the rules — and now wants the players to benefit, too. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's Jim Harbaugh on college football proposal: Time for athletes to eat cake too," 11 May 2020 Beginning in 2021 the NCAA will allow students to profit off their name, image and likeness. oregonlive, "Canzano: Hand it to the NCAA -- name, image likeness result is a big win for the NCAA," 29 Apr. 2020 The coronavirus outbreak has spurred a rush on related website domain names — such as — and stirred investors looking to profit off the newest global health crisis. NBC News, "Who owns Behind the lucrative profiteering on website domains," 20 Mar. 2020 Trump first made the suggestion to have the 2020 G7 at his Doral resort in August at the 2019 summit in France, sparking controversy over the ethics of a president profiting off an official government event. Fox News, "Trump scraps plans to host 2020 G7 summit at Doral resort amid Dem uproar," 20 Oct. 2019 DMVs across the country—including those in Delaware, Indiana, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin, among others—are profiting, too. Annie White, Car and Driver, "DMVs Can (And Do) Collect and Sell Your Personal Data," 4 Apr. 2020 Professional butchers need to profit from their efforts, and that’s fine. Bill Heavey, Field & Stream, "Making Meat: A Step-by-Step Guide to Butchering Your Own Deer," 29 Aug. 2019 This shift left creators like Paul and Mongeau struggling to figure out how to stay on top of the YouTube ecosystem while continuing to profit from their videos. Aja Romano, Vox, "Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau’s giant YouTuber wedding married reality TV to the internet," 30 July 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for profit


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin profectus advance, profit, from proficere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about profit

Time Traveler for profit

Time Traveler

The first known use of profit was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for profit

Last Updated

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Profit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for profit



Financial Definition of profit

What It Is

Profit is the positive gain remaining for a business after all costs and expenses have been deducted from total sales. Profit is also referred to as the bottom line, net profit or net earnings.

How It Works

The formula for profit is:

Total Sales - Total Expenses = Profit

Here is some information about Company XYZ for last year:

Using the formula and the information above, we can calculate that Company XYZ's profit was:

$2,000,000 - $1,000,000 - $50,000 - $95,000 = $855,000

Why It Matters

Profit is one of the most important measurements in determining the health and success of a business.  However, the measurement of profit can vary and should be considered with other factors.

For example, profit varies greatly from company to company and from industry to industry. Because companies vary in size, it is often more appropriate to consider profit as a percentage of sales (profit margin) when comparing one company to another.  As well, varying accounting methods can greatly influence profit, and these changes may have little to do with a company's actual operations.

Changes in profit are the subject of much analysis. In general, high or rising profits are indicative of a successful business while low profits could suggest a myriad of problems, including inadequacies in customer or expense management.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce profit (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of profit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: money that is made in a business, through investing, etc., after all the costs and expenses are paid : a financial gain
formal : the advantage or benefit that is gained from doing something



English Language Learners Definition of profit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to get an advantage or benefit from something
: to be an advantage to (someone) : to help (someone)
: to earn or get money by or from something


prof·​it | \ ˈprä-fət How to pronounce profit (audio) \

Kids Definition of profit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the gain after all the expenses are subtracted from the total amount received Their business shows a profit of $100 a week.
2 : the gain or benefit from something She began to see the profit of exercising.

Other Words from profit

profitless \ -​ləs \ adjective


profited; profiting

Kids Definition of profit (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to get some good out of something : gain You'll profit from the experience.
2 : to be of use to (someone) The agreement profited us all.

Keep scrolling for more



Legal Definition of profit

1 : gain in excess of expenditures: as
a : the excess of the selling price of goods over their cost
b : net income from a business, investment, or capital appreciation — compare earnings, loss
2 : a benefit or advantage from the use of property

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on profit

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!