noun, often attributive
prof·​it | \ˈprä-fət \

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 \ adjective
profitwise \ˈprä-​fət-​ˌwīz \ adverb

Synonyms for profit

Synonyms: Noun

earnings, gain, lucre, net, payoff, proceeds, return

Synonyms: Verb

advantage, avail, benefit, help, serve

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of profit in a Sentence


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.


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

Separately, Ellingson allegedly made $2 million in profits from selling drugs directly on Silk Road. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Silk Road’s alleged hitman, “redandwhite,” arrested in Vancouver," 21 Nov. 2018 Those big ships offer big profits and efficiencies, so much so that ports have been dredging channels and deepening docks to accommodate their girth. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Offshore Mega-Terminals Are Coming Because Oil Supertankers Are Too Big for Our Ports," 14 Sep. 2018 That suggests the company could generate at least $320 million in profit in 2018. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Tinder’s business will double this year to more than $800 million," 8 Aug. 2018 Last year, Ikea saw a 40 percent drop in U.K. profits, prompting the Swedish retailer to rethink its strategy. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Ikea is experimenting with small-format stores in cities," 25 July 2018 That's because lower costs should translate into higher profits and higher sales. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Trade wars are damaging, so why is Trump fighting one with China?," 13 July 2018 Generating revenue and profit will matter just as much as changing the world. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google," 11 July 2018 The tee is part of a special collection dedicated to the non-profit, with all proceeds going towards engaging younger generations in politics. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Gigi Hadid Is Ready to Rock the Vote," 5 Nov. 2018 Fallon appeared to be referring to RAICES, the non-profit Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Trump tells 'whimpering' Jimmy Fallon to 'be a man' over 'Tonight Show' hair-mussing episode," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In other words, Sears’s former CEO and current chair of the board owns the hedge fund that is helping renegotiate its bankruptcy, and will likely be profiting off the company’s debts. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "Sears has filed for bankruptcy, but that doesn’t mean it’s shutting down," 15 Oct. 2018 It can also be used to drive users towards certain services, typically ones that the throttler stands to profit from in one way or another. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Study Shows Just How Mobile Providers Throttle Your Internet," 11 Sep. 2018 The dairy industry, of course, is continuing with its long-standing argument that companies selling non-dairy beverages are profiting off moo-juice’s good name. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "What is milk? Answer muddled after almond milk mixes with cow milk," 6 Aug. 2018 Investors looking to profit from a major breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease have more than just clinical data to worry about. Charley Grant, WSJ, "Caution Still Needed on Biogen Alzheimer’s Bounty," 26 July 2018 Novelty companies such as Redbubble are also looking to profit from the first lady’s faux pas by selling mugs and green T-shirts touting the same saying. Sarah Polus,, "Melania Trump’s Zara jacket is selling for insane prices on secondhand sites," 27 June 2018 American farmers, seeing little opportunity to profit, planted the smallest area of wheat since records began a century ago. James Marson, WSJ, "Struggling U.S. Farmers Worry About a Resurgent Russia," 23 Sep. 2018 While that may be true, regulators and ethicists have nonetheless been unsettled by what seemed a race by Zhang to profit from a procedure with profound moral and religious implications. Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post, "This fertility doctor is pushing the boundaries of human reproduction, with little regulation," 14 May 2018 Whichever team moves first will be in for a financial boon, profiting from all the rebranded merchandise and apparel. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Jacksonville Jaguars move closer to London with owner's Wembley bid," 26 Apr. 2018

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

Statistics for profit

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for profit

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

See more words from the same century

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



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

: 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 \

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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!