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

JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and PNC all reported another quarter of healthy profits, most of which will end up in shareholders’ pockets. Emily Flitter, New York Times, "Bank Earnings Climb in Growing Economy, but Lending Doesn’t Keep Pace," 13 July 2018 Netflix’s profits, meanwhile, are expected to more than quintuple during that period. Keach Hagey, WSJ, "Deal or No Deal: The Shadow Over Sun Valley," 13 July 2018 Lilis turned a small $7.8 million profit in the first quarter this year, compared to a $9 million loss in same period in 2017. Jordan Blum, San Antonio Express-News, "Lilis may be an acquisition target," 13 July 2018 Nominees can be public, private, non-profit, government entities. U-t Staff,, "Top Workplaces deadline is extended," 12 July 2018 As wages stagnated, corporate profits—and stockmarkets—touched record highs. The Economist, "Worker shortages could heal America’s economy," 12 July 2018 Current Time 0:00 / Duration 1:52 March Madness by the numbers: Costs, profits, gamblers and traveling fans Advertisement The NCAA Tournament is upon us, but the madness of March goes beyond the court. Drew Davison, star-telegram, "Frog Tracks: Pebley gets extension; men's hoops adds three," 10 July 2018 Large food companies are increasingly undertaking strategic reviews to modernize their portfolios and maximize profits, which could present more opportunities for Brynwood and other private equity firms. Greg Trotter,, "Private equity firm to buy Pillsbury and other brands for $375M, open Chicago HQ," 9 July 2018 The more challenging backdrop also led analysts to start reducing forecasts for corporate profits, which had been expected to underscore a rally this year after rising in recent years. Fortune, "This Metric Shows Emerging-Market Stocks Are Cheap, Cheap, Cheap," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Musk recently explained to his Twitter base that profits from more expensive Model 3s (up to $70,000 or more) are what’s needed at this point in the automaker’s history. Russ Mitchell,, "Tesla drops reservation system, opens Model 3 orders to anybody," 10 July 2018 The social media companies that have profited most have done so by selling back to us the promises of the web and participatory culture. Tarleton Gillespie, WIRED, "How Social Networks Set the Limits of What We Can Say Online," 26 June 2018 Participants will learn how to profit from the short-term rental business without buying property and how to avoid potential blind spots. Margeaux Sippell,, "Business agenda," 23 May 2018 Teachers are not just demanding better pay but also better treatment of students; some are calling for higher taxes on the oil and gas industries that profit from their states’ resources. Livia Gershon, Longreads, "More than Make-Work," 22 May 2018 He was also raked over the coals -- by the likes of TV personalty Piers Morgan -- for taking the money and profiting on his daughter's upcoming nuptials. The Washington Post,, "Meghan Markle: 'Sadly, my father will not be attending our wedding'," 17 May 2018 The challenge for providers is to figure out how to profit. Fortune, "Running a Drone Business Was a Massive Cash Cow. Then the Drones Arrived," 14 May 2018 Former Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware knows how to profit from a bad situation. Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal, "Upset about the NCAA ruling, Louisville fans? Kevin Ware's T-shirt will cheer you up," 21 Feb. 2018 In this op-ed, writer Alisha Acquaye explores how brands are profiting off the backlash against racist advertising and continuing to harm people of color. Alisha Acquaye, Teen Vogue, "How Beauty Brands Are Profiting Off Racism," 26 Jan. 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

Phrases Related to profit

at a profit

profit margin

profit motive

Statistics for profit

Last Updated

18 Oct 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).


one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

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!