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 YumVillage does serious catering business, and any employee of the restaurant who books a catering gig gets a cut of the profit. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Best New Restaurant No. 2: YumVillage, Detroit," 14 Feb. 2020 After auction though, Lauren will get to keep the profits, less taxes. Tracy Maness, Houston Chronicle, "Third-generation FFA student tops class at Katy ISD livestock show," 14 Feb. 2020 The New York company posted overall quarterly net profit of $922 million, reversing a year-earlier loss of $622 million. ... Leslie Scism, WSJ, "AIG’s Profit Grows as Insurer Builds Back Property-Casualty Unit," 13 Feb. 2020 The costs of the company's pension plan, a legacy of an era in which the newspaper industry was rich with profits, weighed it down in recent years. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Newspaper chain McClatchy files Chapter 11 bankruptcy after pension woes, print declines," 13 Feb. 2020 Eventually, the city and IPL would earn a share of the profits when the operation became profitable. Amelia Pak-harvey, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis mulls options for buying BlueIndy electric charging stations," 12 Feb. 2020 Arnault presented last month bumper results for 2019 with LVMH revenues rising 15% to €53.7 billion ($58.5 billion) and group share of net profit rising 13% to €7.2 billion ($7.8 billion). Adrian Croft, Fortune, "Luxury goods mogul Bernard Arnault was briefly crowned ‘world’s richest man.’ Then coronavirus struck," 12 Feb. 2020 So forgive me for taking more than a passing interest in the news conference scheduled today in SE Portland where Mayor Ted Wheeler, a restoration non-profit, philanthropists and the Portland Diamond Project will reveal a carousel partnership. oregonlive, "Canzano: The spinning journey of the Jantzen Beach Carousel takes on a MLB to PDX twist," 11 Feb. 2020 And, amid an enduring streak of million-dollar losses, the company is now betting on a fintech pivot to drive up revenues in pursuit of elusive profits. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Online spending in Africa shows just how much work e-commerce companies still have to do," 10 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Instead, you're required to bring the tip in cash, use an on-site ATM to withdraw it (which the business can profit from by charging you a fee) or use an app such as Venmo or Apple Cash to send it directly to the hairdresser or nail technician. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "Is tipping on the way out? Here's why more travelers are joining the 'do not tip' movement," 15 Feb. 2020 The news lit up social media and triggered a fresh storm of criticism that the American fund was too cozy with Mr. Macron, and would profit from the pension changes. Liz Alderman, New York Times, "BlackRock Becomes a Symbol for Anticapitalist Fervor in France," 14 Feb. 2020 Opdivo’s parent company also offers investors a way to profit from an IO drug while benefiting from greater product diversification. Ryan Derousseau, Fortune, "‘Miracle’ cancer treatments could be a blessing for investors too," 13 Feb. 2020 Though their plan to profit was upended, officers determined the couple regularly filled out the cards and used them to get free coffee over a six-month period. The Bulletin, oregonlive, "They wanted free Dutch Bros. coffee so this pair forged $2,500 in punch cards," 13 Feb. 2020 The move raised questions about whether Mr. Trump is profiting off the presidency. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "House Democrats probe Secret Service payments to Trump-owned properties," 12 Feb. 2020 Some of the money American and Southwest contributed to profit-sharing pools for 2019 came from settlements with Boeing over the grounding their 737 Max fleets, which cut into profits at both companies. Dallas News, "American Airlines is transforming the way it shares profits with employees," 7 Feb. 2020 Two decades later the online world faces another constitutional moment, this time courtesy of a company which has profited from the internet’s stupendous growth—and is blamed for many of its ills, from privacy abuses to the spread of disinformation. The Economist, "Facebook unveils details of its content-oversight board," 30 Jan. 2020 Their end goal each episode will be to sell the home at a higher price, allowing them to break even, and the family to profit. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "HGTV's 'Unsellable Houses' Challenges Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis to Sell Homes Deemed Unsellable in the Seattle Area," 28 Jan. 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

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Profit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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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


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.

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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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