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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun It is believed that Lopez was hiding near the cabin when officers received a request to conduct a welfare check at the cabin after someone was concerned about not hearing from an elderly relative, Clark said. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, 3 June 2022 Law enforcement officers were called to a Milwaukee home for a welfare check, and found six people who had been fatally shot. New York Times, 1 June 2022 According to the report, Barber was found dead in his apartment after police were called to do a welfare check. Matt Young, Chron, 1 June 2022 Marion County sheriff’s deputies were contacted May 11 about a welfare check on the Watsons, the news release stated. Arkansas Democrat-gazette, Arkansas Online, 27 May 2022 Someone called the Calgary police asking for a welfare check at the woman’s home. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2022 The state of Mississippi Department of Human Resources has sued several high-profile former athletes including former football stars Brett Favre and Marcus Dupree and ex-wrestler Ted DiBiase Sr., accusing them of welfare fraud. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 10 May 2022 Kayla had been in jail since January on one felony count of theft by deception and two misdemeanor counts of welfare fraud. Diane Herbst, PEOPLE.com, 10 May 2022 Kayla Montgomery was charged with welfare fraud after she was accused of collecting more than $1,500 in food stamp benefits for Harmony, even though the girl was no longer living at their home. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 24 Mar. 2022 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 See More

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.

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

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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

9 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Welfare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/welfare. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for welfare


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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