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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun His net profit margin was 8%, compared to an average of 30% before the pandemic. Michelle Lhooq,, "Music Festivals Create Their Own ‘Bubbles’ to Get Partiers Back Out," 21 Sep. 2020 The part cost the company just $173 to make, producing a profit margin of nearly 4,000%. Lydia Depillis, cleveland, "The big corporate rescue and the America that’s too small to save," 12 Sep. 2020 The part cost the company just $173 to make, producing a profit margin of nearly 4,000%. Lydia Depillis, ProPublica, "The Big Corporate Rescue and the America That’s Too Small to Save," 12 Sep. 2020 The average profit margin fell to 5.2%, down from 5.9% in fiscal year 2018 and from 7.3% in 2016. Stephen Singer,, "Report: In pre-pandemic 2019 Connecticut hospitals posted a solid 12% revenue boost," 10 Sep. 2020 On his list of tasks are raising Ford’s profit margin in North America to 10 percent or more, cutting costs, and reviving the company’s sales in Europe, China, and South America. Neal E. Boudette,, "Ford, struggling in a changing industry, replaces its CEO," 4 Aug. 2020 Merchants must now also take extra steps to keep themselves and their patrons safe, which further reduces the profit margin. Hallie Miller,, "Lexington Market reopens without some vendors as business suffers due to coronavirus," 3 Aug. 2020 In addition, banks add spread to the loan interest rate, which involves operating cost, credit cost (provisioning for bad loans), and profit margin. Prathamesh Mulye, Quartz India, "The central bank’s Covid-19 relief on interest rates hasn’t really reached many Indians," 9 July 2020 That kind of volume and profit margin means the F-150 generates truckloads of money for Ford. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Ford’s 2021 F-150 lineup includes a hybrid," 26 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bank stocks had sharp losses Monday morning after a report alleged that several of them continue to profit from illicit dealings with criminal networks despite being previously fined for similar actions. Stan Choe, USA TODAY, "Stock market battered: Dow Jones down as banks suffer, economic concerns grip investors," 21 Sep. 2020 Nel is still well positioned to profit from the boom in hydrogen. Will Mathis,, "Nikola’s Plunge Takes Norwegian Green Energy Stock Down Too," 21 Sep. 2020 Platforms like Facebook are designed to profit from humans' confirmation bias. Christopher Seneca, Wired, "How to Break Out of Your Social Media Echo Chamber," 17 Sep. 2020 The takeaway is clear: the image-making industry wants to profit from Ratajkowski’s work and an image-consuming public wants to pay to see it. Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, "Emily Ratajkowski and the question of why society looks down on models," 17 Sep. 2020 Two Malaysian businessmen were arrested Monday in Malaysia and accused of conspiring with some of the Chinese hackers to profit from intrusions into the videogame industry, Justice Department officials said. ... Dustin Volz, WSJ, "U.S. Charges Chinese Nationals in Cyberattacks on More Than 100 Companies," 16 Sep. 2020 As principal stockholder in a land-grading company, Mayor McCoppin also hoped to profit richly when the park’s hills were removed, a sleazy scheme thwarted when the hills were left in place to provide wind protection. Gary Kamiya,, "How Golden Gate Park ended up in the Outside Lands," 4 Sep. 2020 There is mounting pressure on the NCAA to lift its archaic restrictions on athletes, which does not permit them to profit from their name, image and likeness, a stipulation that applies only to students who also happen to play a varsity sport. Nick Moyle,, "Texas launches program to help athletes profit off name, image, likeness," 31 Aug. 2020 Instead, the couple decided Airbnb would be a great way to hold on to the home and profit off it. Claudia Harmata,, "HGTV's Jasmine Roth Is Renting Out Her Huntington Beach, California Home on Airbnb," 10 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about profit

Time Traveler for profit

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for profit

Last Updated

25 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Profit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!