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

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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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Delta's loss compared with a year-ago profit of $1.5 billion and nearly matched the loss of $5.7 billion in the second quarter, when the pandemic brought air travel to a near standstill. David Koenig, Star Tribune, "Delta's business fell a bit harder than expected this summer," 13 Oct. 2020 Since it was founded 1981 as the tenth Habitat affiliate in the U.S. and the first in Louisiana, 282 new home construction projects have been completed and sold to local partner families with no profit, zero-interest mortgages., "Vintner dinners, a sunset concert, pumpkin patches, golf and shooting tourneys on tap," 12 Oct. 2020 In terms of social value, nonprofits by definition announce their ineffectiveness compared with profit-seeking companies. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "To Serve the Public, Seek Profits," 11 Oct. 2020 Bed Bath & Beyond returned to profit in the quarter with a net income of $217.9 million on sales of $2.69 billion, compared to a loss a loss of $138.8 million, a year earlier on sales of $2.6 billion. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Bed Bath & Beyond stock jumps 30% on first sales gain in years," 1 Oct. 2020 That compared with a profit of $195.6 million or $1.23 per share, in the year-earlier quarter. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Harley-Davidson will end its operations in India as it restructures, facing sharply declining sales," 24 Sep. 2020 The retailer, known for outerwear emblazoned with Japanese characters, lost about 42 million pounds ($54 million) on an underlying basis in the year through April, compared with a profit of 38 million the prior year. Deirdre Hipwell,, "Superdry Co-Founder’s Turnaround Efforts Are Hit by Pandemic," 21 Sep. 2020 The unsealing of the indictments came a day after federal prosecutors filed an indictment against two Iranian nationals also accused of hacking into US networks and stealing data to both financially profit and support the Iranian government. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Hammer drops on hackers accused of targeting game and software makers," 17 Sep. 2020 In the quarter ending July 31, Navistar posted a loss of $37 million on $1.7 billion in revenue, compared with a $156 million profit on more than $3 billion in revenue the year before. Diego Mendoza-moyers,, "Navistar to make electric trucks in San Antonio," 16 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Vaccine misinformation has taken an increasingly strong foothold in those spaces in recent months, with some individuals using them to peddle and profit from falsehoods while flying under the radar of policies designed to police advertisements. Erin Brodwin, STAT, "Facebook rolls out a new vaccine misinformation policy — but leaves out pages where falsehoods thrive," 13 Oct. 2020 Even pharmaceutical companies that stand to profit from vaccines have a huge stake in protecting the integrity of the approval process. Kaiser Health News, oregonlive, "Oregon among states to independently review COVID-19 vaccine from feds; experts raise red flags," 7 Oct. 2020 Even pharmaceutical companies that stand to profit from vaccines have a huge stake in protecting the integrity of the approval process. NBC News, "Some states plan to vet Covid-19 vaccines themselves. Bad idea, experts say.," 7 Oct. 2020 And though student-athletes in theory, would profit from their name, image and likeness, the NCAA said the new rules should continue to make compensation for play impermissible and that athletes are not employees of the universities. Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN, "Affluent White student-athletes are profiting from the labor of their poor Black peers, study says," 8 Sep. 2020 According to historian Peter DeCarlo, the United States wanted to keep the British out, profit off the resources in the region and stay on top of the fur trade. Smithsonian Magazine, "How 19th-Century Anti-Black and Anti-Indigenous Racism Reverberates Today," 1 Sep. 2020 It is expected that new rules will be adopted in January and athletes will be able to profit off of third-party endorsements, social media, and personal appearances starting in the 2021-22 academic year. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "IU athletics adds name, image, likeness task force," 27 Aug. 2020 The small New York investment firm, which has sought to profit from Nikola's woes by shorting the company's stock, alleged widespread duplicity involving the company, its vaunted technology and Milton. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, "Nikola founder Trevor Milton made a splash in Arizona before abruptly leaving the company. What happens next?," 4 Oct. 2020 By making both positive and negative bets, these long-short investors try to profit whatever happens to the wider market. Frances Yoon, WSJ, "South Korea’s Market Rebound Heats Up Argument Over Bringing Back Short Selling," 1 Oct. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for profit

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for profit

Last Updated

19 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Profit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for profit


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.



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

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