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 The church welfare handbook was rewritten in 1990, when Benson was in frail health. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Jana Riess: How did Latter-day Saints become so Republican?," 7 Oct. 2020 Vincent is a local human services and welfare organization that serves people in Ashland, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Summit and Wayne counties. Alexis Oatman, cleveland, "How are Northeast Ohio food banks faring during the pandemic?," 7 Oct. 2020 British public spending on welfare programs, housing subsidies and social services was cut by 30 billion pounds from 2010-2019, with per capita daily government spending dropping by 15% overall (compared to 2010) as of 2020. Bob Ainsbury, Fortune, "How digitalization could help American states and cities bounce back from the COVID recession," 7 Oct. 2020 Animal welfare activists and congressional lawmakers have demanded that Dr. Collins revisit the decision, with some contending that taxpayer dollars allocated to care for the chimps are not being used appropriately. James Gorman, New York Times, "Aging and Ailing Lab Chimps Are Still at Center of Fight for Sanctuary," 6 Oct. 2020 Has this corporate welfare made the nurse, or the teacher, or service worker in my apartment building any better off? baltimoresun.com, "Voter guide: Franca Muller Paz, City Council (12), Baltimore City," 5 Oct. 2020 Government forced people to need welfare by causing the loss of jobs. Anchorage Daily News, "Candidate Q&A: Alaska Senate District N — Carolyn “Care” Clift," 3 Oct. 2020 The foundation sponsors a cat show every fall and winter at the Jimmy Burke Activity Center in Deer Park to bring awareness to the homeless pet population and to promote positive practices and attitudes regarding pet welfare. Yvette Orozco, Houston Chronicle, "Recent Deer Park cat show set safe example, organizer says," 13 Oct. 2020 Why else do folks think of Social Security disability benefits as welfare? Tom Margenau, Dallas News, "Disability benefits: They’re not welfare, but difficult to get," 11 Oct. 2020 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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Time Traveler for welfare

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for welfare

Last Updated

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Welfare.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/welfare. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for welfare


How to pronounce welfare (audio)

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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