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 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 Across the United States, drone photographers are increasingly running up against state surveying boards that wield the power of government licensing and use that power now necessarily to protect the public but, rather, to the profit of surveyors. Andrew Wimer, Forbes, "Drone Innovation Is At Stake In North Carolina Photographer’s Lawsuit," 8 Apr. 2021 Analysts expect a profit of about $9.26 billion when JPMorgan reports first-quarter results next week. Orla Mccaffrey, WSJ, "JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Sees ‘Goldilocks Moment’ for U.S. Economy," 7 Apr. 2021 Data collection is lucrative, and for General Mills, a corporation with an operating profit of nearly $3 billion in 2020, 10 cents is a small price to pay for such insights. Lora Kelley, The Atlantic, "How Box Tops for Education Lost Its Way," 7 Apr. 2021 The hit is nearly as big as the annual pretax profit of its entire investment banking division over the previous four years combined. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, "Archegos collapse plunges Credit Suisse back into crisis," 6 Apr. 2021 The company posted a fourth-quarter loss from continuing operations of $39.1 million, compared with a year-ago profit of $93.9 million. The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, "Univision Posts Revenue Bump as Ad Spending Increases," 31 Mar. 2021 With other factors such as interest and depreciation, the fair ended with a net profit of about $1.8 million. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Underground proms, popcorn problems, lobster relief: News from around our 50 states," 25 Mar. 2021 At Home reported that sales were up 41.3% to $562 million in the holiday quarter that ended in January and that the company swung from a loss a year earlier to a profit of $72.7 million. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Plano-based At Home posts strong results from ramped-up online sales and next-day delivery," 24 Mar. 2021 The utility was able to sell much of its power into the wholesale market at the maximum price, and possibly came out of the storm with a profit. Diego Mendoza-moyers, San Antonio Express-News, "As price-cutting measure dies in Legislature, CPS lawsuit seeks to shield San Antonians from winter storm bill," 22 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Numerous others claimed the state and hospitals were using the coronavirus pandemic to profit on positive case rates and deaths. Leia Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Weber County Commission declares ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’," 6 Apr. 2021 Vogelpohl started her Instagram account started as a hobby, but her family’s changing circumstances eventually convinced her to profit from her large following. Kimi Robinson, The Arizona Republic, "Instagram fame, then a Walmart deal: How an Arizona woman became known for her home décor," 5 Apr. 2021 Getting robots to handle at least some of those deliveries could improve margins and help speed Uber's progress to profit. Lizette Chapman,, "Uber spins off robotic delivery unit, takes stake in new startup," 2 Mar. 2021 The Geode fund had placed roughly $80 million in derivatives that stood to profit if the market remained calm. Justin Baer, WSJ, "Geode, Fidelity’s Index-Fund Manager, Closes Hedge-Fund Business After Derivatives Bets Implode," 28 Feb. 2021 Tiger Asia handed money back to investors after Mr. Hwang admitted in December 2012 that the hedge fund criminally used inside information from investment banks at least three times to profit on securities trades. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "Who Is Archegos Fund Manager Bill Hwang?," 29 Mar. 2021 Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka tweeted that many are willing to profit from and enjoy Asian culture, but do so while attacking Asian ethnic groups. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Thousands protest violence against Asian Americans during National Day of Action protests," 27 Mar. 2021 Called Nyan Cat, it was created a decade ago but the owner had finally decided to profit from his viral animation. Leena Kim, Town & Country, "WTF is an NFT—and Why Should We Care?," 25 Mar. 2021 NFTs—digital tokens tied to assets that can be bought, sold and traded—are enabling artists like Boykins to profit from their work more easily than ever. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "NFTs Are Shaking Up the Art World—But They Could Change So Much More," 22 Mar. 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

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Profit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 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
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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