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

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

Synonyms: Verb

advantage, avail, benefit, help, serve

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This shift away from short-term funding makes businesses less vulnerable to refinancing after a sudden reduction in profits or credit availability. Daan Struyven For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Corporate debt is rising, but it's safer than it looks," 10 June 2019 The Rossoneri need to balance the books with the Serie A side in the middle of an appeal against Financial Fair Play violations, needing to sell at a profit by June 30., "Transfer Rumours: Ake to Spurs, West Ham After Celta Vigo Duo, Longstaff Responds to Man Utd & More," 9 June 2019 Founded in 1998, ESPN The Magazine rarely turned a profit but provided ESPN with glossy prestige and a platform for prominent writers from Wright Thompson to Bill Simmons to Mina Kimes. Alex Putterman,, "Journalism at ESPN: Sports network seeks to be about more than wins, losses and debate," 7 June 2019 If a contractor purchases and renovates the house, the re-sell could bring a profit. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Meth-contaminated row home in Denver selling for $500,000," 7 June 2019 Skeptics warn that Beyond Meat's stock market value -- now at $5.7 billion -- is hard to justify given that the startup company lost nearly $30 million just last year on barely $10 million in revenue. and has yet to turn a profit. Sarah Min, CBS News, "Beyond Meat stock price soars ever higher after first earnings report since smashing IPO," 6 June 2019 The average North Texas property flipper made a profit of $30,588 -- down from almost $39,000 a year ago. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Home flipping becoming less common and less profitable in Dallas-Fort Worth," 6 June 2019 As Bloomberg points out, Bumble is not expecting to turn a profit with its Soho restaurant, which might be the only rational assumption in this whole endeavor. Amanda Shapiro, Bon Appétit, "A Place to Date," 6 June 2019 Strong words from the CEO of the largest health care company in the world, which made $17 billion in profits in 2018. Flaviu Simihaian, Fortune, "Private Insurers Are Afraid of Medicare for All. They Should Be Excited," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The rush to profit from cannabis in Santa Barbara started during a moratorium on new grows. Joe Mozingo,, "The world’s largest pot farms, and how Santa Barbara opened the door," 12 June 2019 Even as Roebuck struggled, those in charge of Reverse Mortgage Solutions continued to profit. USA Today, "Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure.," 12 June 2019 People looking to profit from psychedelics, rather than ensure their accessibility, are getting into the space. Madison Margolin, Quartz, "The next battle in the War on Drugs will be fought over psychedelics," 4 June 2019 Will the industry care much about the risk of addiction if companies profit from it? German Lopez, Vox, "Why you shouldn’t dismiss the risk of marijuana addiction," 20 Aug. 2018 During his first two terms, a small but vocal group of city residents opposed Trevino, saying his highway contracting business was profiting from his public position. Gordon Dickson, star-telegram, "Mayors for life? Why Tarrant County voters keep re-electing these folks | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 27 Apr. 2018 Believe it or not, the Justice Department has more to do than investigate the Trump Administration—such as its crackdown on people seeking to profit by misusing a federal anti-fraud statute. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "False Claims Falsehoods," 27 Dec. 2018 Jordan Ayew - Swansea are desperate for points and their top points scorer could profit from a double game week against Bournemouth on a losing streak and a direct relegation rival., "Premier League Fantasy Football: Who's Hot and Who's Not in Gameweek 37," 4 May 2018 Healey said the lawsuit makes clear the role that Purdue’s executives and directors played in creating and profiting from the opioid crisis. Steve Leblanc, The Seattle Times, "Parents press Harvard to remove Sackler name from art museum," 12 Apr. 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.

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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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Statistics for profit

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for profit

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

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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
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.

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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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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).


to take the place or position of

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