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 In turn, businesses will raise prices further to maintain profit margins. Josh Mitchell, WSJ, 13 Jan. 2022 The increased cost of goods means businesses have either had to decrease their profit margins or raise prices for consumers — often both. Los Angeles Times, 13 Jan. 2022 Also impacting the profit margins on originals is the fact that foreign sales have almost entirely ended as CBS Studios and Warners look to retain those rights for their respective streamers. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 Jan. 2022 Automakers don’t like to stockpile components because excess inventory eats into their profit margins. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 5 Jan. 2022 Because of the profit margins, this trade was highly lucrative even before the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal. Washington Post, 4 Jan. 2022 Apple’s immense sales and wide profit margins have provided it with a stockpile of cash big enough to buy a company such as UPS, Starbucks, or Morgan Stanley outright. Jack Nicas,, 3 Jan. 2022 Once Big Tech gets involved, in the form of Mark Rylance’s socially awkward Silicon Valley billionaire, profit margins will then take precedent over saving the poor, i.e. the other 99.9 percent. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 24 Dec. 2021 The Tribune-Review was a money loser, bleeding red ink even during times when many papers enjoyed fat profit margins. Patricia Callahan, ProPublica, 15 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Local communities would be partners in deciding how best to profit from natural resources on tribal land. New York Times, 31 Dec. 2021 Though college athletes are now allowed to profit on NIL, most states – including Texas and Alabama – do not allow high school athletes to do the same and still remain eligible. Ben Thomas |, al, 2 Aug. 2021 That drew in individual investors to firms such as Africrypt, which offered a way to profit on the topsy-turvy market with trading strategies that made the unfamiliar terrain of cryptocurrencies sound accessible and enticing. Anna Hirtenstein, WSJ, 8 July 2021 The question is whether benefactors and businesses will be interested to join forces with Copeland and other college athletes throughout the Sunshine State now allowed to profit on their name, image and likeness. Edgar Thompson,, 30 June 2021 This could mean that the subletter ends up footing the bill for the majority of the rent, allowing the leaseholder to profit from the savings on their own housing costs. Nafeesah Allen, Better Homes & Gardens, 25 June 2021 It was originally believed the NCAA would act on NIL in January, setting up this coming school year as the first where college athletes could profit on their likeness. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, 7 May 2021 On the sidelines of Glasgow, private investors were converging around new firms from a range of businesses that hope to profit from reducing emissions. Amy Myers Jaffe, WSJ, 13 Dec. 2021 Phishing scams like the one leveraging Davido’s buzz require users to be alert to danger but also vigilant even in their enthusiasm to profit from unverified opportunities. Alexander Onukwue, Quartz, 24 Nov. 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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Dictionary Entries Near profit




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Statistics for profit

Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Profit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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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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