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 Analysts expect strong profit growth to return for companies later this year as the economy recovers. Stan Choe, USA TODAY, "Stocks slip as Wall Street takes a breather after 4-day run," 11 Jan. 2021 Tax filings and federal court documents indicate that FirstEnergy funneled money through a non-profit to Consumers Against Deceptive Fees, a group that billed itself as an advocate for Cleveland utility customers by questioning rates. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Cleveland City Council members might subpoena FirstEnergy, citing efforts to undermine CPP," 11 Jan. 2021 This slow profit retention and accumulation of value is the beginning, but not the end, of ending the conservatorship. Michael Taylor,, "Taylor: The unfinished business of Fannie and Freddie," 5 Jan. 2021 Despite the challenge of even turning a profit right now, several restaurants are making moves to redesign their businesses. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus updates from the Bay Area: Dec. 24-30," 1 Jan. 2021 In an in-depth series, The Chronicle examined what’s become of that investment and tells the stories of the patients, scientists and profit-seekers all banking on this miracle cell. San Francisco Chronicle, "The best of Chronicle storytelling," 1 Jan. 2021 Transparency International, a non-profit against global corruption, worked with lawmakers on the legislation, according to the Independent. Callie Patteson, Washington Examiner, "US bans anonymous shell companies, passing 'historic' anti-corruption legislation," 1 Jan. 2021 Powerful companies like Google have the ability to co-opt, minimize, or silence criticisms of their own large-scale AI systems—systems that are at the core of their profit motives. Alex Hanna, Wired, "Timnit Gebru’s Exit From Google Exposes a Crisis in AI," 31 Dec. 2020 Pop Marts’ revenue grew nearly 1,000% from 2017 to 2019 and its blind boxes earned a gross profit margin of 70.5% in the first half of 2020. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "China’s ‘Blind Box’ Bubble," 31 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The most obvious are financial conflicts, in which a scientist stands to profit from the outcome. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Report finds holes in U.S. policies on foreign influence in research," 28 Dec. 2020 The 1884-1885 Berlin Conference, also known as the Congo Conference, was a bid by Wilhelm and Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to catch up with other colonial leaders in their race to profit from Africa’s natural resources, slaves, and craftsmanship. Jacob Kushner, History & Culture, "In Germany, a new museum stirs up a colonial controversy," 16 Dec. 2020 Does' videos were still on MindGeek sites this month, the complaint said: Even after severing its partnership with GirlsDoPorn, MindGeek continues to profit from Plaintiffs' videos to this day. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "40 GirlsDoPorn victims sue Pornhub for hosting “sex trafficking” videos," 16 Dec. 2020 In one sign of the optimism permeating markets, bullish call options—those that give investors the right to buy shares later in time—flourished, as investors looked to profit from stocks’ ascent. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "Stocks Surge in Crazy Year for Financial Markets," 1 Jan. 2021 The bill from the Democrats would not only allow college athletes to profit from their names and images, but would allow group licensing deals. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | EDITORIAL: Rank amateurs," 20 Dec. 2020 But a lot is happening thanks to pure economics as well: companies aiming to profit from new clean energy installations, which are becoming increasingly more affordable in many places. David L. Mccollum, Quartz, "Coronavirus relief funds could pay to stop the worst of climate change while rebooting economies," 19 Nov. 2020 More recently, the ruling Communist Party has been encouraging use of mainland markets to raise money for private sector companies that generate most of China’s jobs and wealth and to give Chinese investors a chance to profit from their growth. Joe Mcdonald,, "Market debut of Alipay operator Ant Group postponed in China," 3 Nov. 2020 But the presidency has limited his ability to profit from his base. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Is Fox News Ready for Former President Trump?," 2 Nov. 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

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Profit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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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