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

Other Words from profit


profitless \ ˈprä-​fət-​ləs How to pronounce profit (audio) \ adjective
profitwise \ ˈprä-​fət-​ˌwīz How to pronounce profit (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 Proceeds will fund specialized pediatric services at the not-for-profit Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. Matt Wake |, al, 22 Nov. 2021 Alibaba on Thursday announced revenue and operating profit for the quarter ending in September that was lower than analysts’ estimates on S&P Global Market Intelligence. Jacky Wong, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2021 The pandemic ushered in a new wave of adult-content creators, some of them amateurs who decided to record themselves for profit and became heavily reliant on the Internet to earn a living. Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2021 The Children’s Theatre of Winnetka is self-described as a not-for-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to promoting theatrical experiences, both onstage and backstage, for New Trier Township children in fourth through eighth grades. Gina Grillo,, 16 Nov. 2021 In July, the companies were barred from providing for-profit classes in core subjects and online sessions with foreign teachers. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 15 Nov. 2021 Despite better profit and revenue growth, OLLI and DG have a comparatively lower price-to-operating income ratio. Trefis Team, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 One of the chief scientists behind the vaccine, Sarah Gilbert, pushed AstraZeneca to pledge that the shots would be sold on a not-for-profit basis so long as covid-19 was classified as a pandemic, and in perpetuity for low-income nations. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, 12 Nov. 2021 Shell, by contrast, reported revenue of $180.5 billion and profit of $5.6 billion last year. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 6 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Epic Games operates its own Epic Games Store for PC gamers, which also charges a platform fee, albeit a lower one, and Sweeney doesn’t dispute Google and Apple’s right to profit from their work. Sohee Kim, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2021 In fact, some companies – aware of New York’s desire to profit from the venture – offered more than 60% of their betting profits to garner a long-term license. - Make Genius Money Moves, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 Women college athletes have historically been far more limited in their ability to profit off their athletic skills compared to their male counterparts. Lindsey Darvin, The Conversation, 29 Sep. 2021 Ewers said on social media at the time that his decision was largely due to the ability to profit off his name, image and likeness in college football -- something that would make an athlete ineligible in high school. Ben Thomas |, al, 28 Sep. 2021 Steveson has taken advantage of college athletes' newfound ability to profit off their name, image and likeness, and winning gold has only increased those opportunities, eh said. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2021 The woman also was convicted of one felony racketeering charge in federal court, though prosecutors and a judge acknowledged she was manipulated and didn't profit in the scheme. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 Aug. 2021 Blue Shield spokesman Matthew Yi said the insurer did not profit from the contract, using the $15 million to cover costs. Isaac Stanley-becker, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Aug. 2021 Under Blue Shield’s contract, the company can bill for out-of-pocket costs incurred up to $15 million and won’t profit off the deal, the company noted. Los Angeles Times, 18 Aug. 2021

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

25 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Profit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for profit



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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on profit

Nglish: Translation of profit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of profit for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about profit


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