wel·​fare | \ ˈwel-ˌfer How to pronounce welfare (audio) \

Definition of welfare

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the state of doing well especially in respect to good fortune, happiness, well-being, or prosperity must look out for your own welfare
2a : aid in the form of money or necessities for those in need
b : an agency or program through which such aid is distributed



Definition of welfare (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or concerned with welfare and especially with improvement of the welfare of disadvantaged social groups welfare legislation
2 : receiving public welfare benefits welfare families

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Synonyms & Antonyms for welfare

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of welfare in a Sentence

Noun He wants to do away with welfare. I have your welfare at heart. The welfare of all the orphans was at stake. She donates to organizations concerned about animal welfare.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), signed a July memo that laid out Sen. Joe Manchin’s views on the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion social-welfare and climate bill. Siobhan Hughes, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2021 Joanie had gotten sober and, through a welfare-to-work program, took a full-time job cleaning the A train. New York Times, 28 Sep. 2021 Whether someone is a trailblazer, ferryman, or shepherd, all three approaches to leadership share a commitment to the welfare of the people—the very premise of Gross National Happiness. Rob Dube, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 This summer, the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Antitrust marked up and pushed through a flurry of bills that were designed to overhaul American competition policy, and more specifically, the consumer welfare standard. Kir Nuthi, Fortune, 17 Sep. 2021 In any other world, reducing adverts to promote user content for free would be viewed as evidence of consumer-welfare-enhancing competition, not something to lament. Ryan Bourne, National Review, 17 Sep. 2021 The welfare of my community and creating a better future. Ann Marie Elpa, refinery29.com, 10 Sep. 2021 Our tax systems were designed not just to fund government services but to redistribute wealth and income, to mitigate inequality and to ensure a social-welfare safety net for all. Malcolm Turnbull, Time, 11 Aug. 2021 After detaining him, paramedics were notified to check on the welfare of the victim and suspect. cleveland, 17 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Moderate Democrats fear pro-welfare and anti-business labels. John Harwood, CNN, 19 Sep. 2021 Starting near the end of the last century, the rhetoric of business-minded reform increasingly cloaked the politics of deregulation, anti-welfare cutbacks, and austerity. Kyle Edward Williams, The New Republic, 9 Dec. 2020 Layers of state bureaucracy, outdated computer systems, and, in some states, anti-welfare attitudes kept timely help out of the reach of many. Tracey Lindeman, Fortune, 23 Oct. 2020 Even overtly welfare-ish Medicaid payments—originally intended to provide care for poor children—now go largely to long-term care for mainly middle-class elderly. Eric B. Schnurer, The Atlantic, 12 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'welfare.' 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 welfare


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for welfare


Middle English, from the phrase wel faren to fare well

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Time Traveler for welfare

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near welfare

weld screw


welfare capitalism

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Statistics for welfare

Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Welfare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/welfare. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for welfare



English Language Learners Definition of welfare

: a government program for poor or unemployed people that helps pay for their food, housing, medical costs, etc.
: the state of being happy, healthy, or successful : well-being


wel·​fare | \ ˈwel-ˌfer How to pronounce welfare (audio) \

Kids Definition of welfare

1 : the state of being or doing well especially in relation to happiness, well-being, or success
2 : aid in the form of money or necessities for people in need

More from Merriam-Webster on welfare

Nglish: Translation of welfare for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of welfare for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about welfare


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