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

good, interest, weal, well-being

Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of welfare in a Sentence


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

In addition, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (Kansas DCF)—the state’s child welfare agency—has launched its own investigation into Hill and Espinal. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "What's Next for Tyreek Hill After Not Being Charged in Child Abuse Investigation?," 7 June 2019 The nonprofit has received about $50 million from the child welfare agency since 2005, according to state comptroller officials. Christy Gutowski, chicagotribune.com, "DCFS says nonprofit misused taxpayer dollars, demands repayment of $100K," 5 June 2019 Coordinator Darlene White said that nonprofit animal welfare agencies are provided free space by Grossmont Center to accommodate adoptions and that each group has its own adoption process and fees. Karen Pearlman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Animal adoption event heading to La Mesa," 3 June 2019 Kering planned not one, but three new programs around the summit dates: a commitment to only work with models over 18 years old; new animal welfare standards; and Pinault’s new sustainability coalition under President Macron. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Can Technology Save Us? The Key Takeaways From the Copenhagen Fashion Summit," 20 May 2019 The Mayhew, an animal welfare charity and a patronage of Meghan's, also received some goodwill. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle's Baby Shower Is Going Global, Thanks to a Charity-Minded Fan," 1 Apr. 2019 Laura Ward, deputy director of the department, gave tips for planning ahead and handling emergency situations to ensure animals’ welfare. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Preparing for a disaster could save an animal's life," 29 June 2018 Two years earlier, members of the tribe fired arrows at an Indian military helicopter checking on their welfare after the 2004 tsunami. Rajesh Roy, WSJ, "American Missionary Killed by Isolated Tribe Wrote of Confrontation With the Group," 22 Nov. 2018 However, other less prominent animal-welfare groups remain staunchly opposed. Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "To protect salmon in the Columbia, will we have to kill more sea lions?," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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, "'It's the Grandparents Stealing From the Grandchildren'," 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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Statistics for welfare

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for welfare

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

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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


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

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Comments on welfare

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