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

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Other Words from profit


profitless \ ˈprä-​fət-​ləs How to pronounce profit (audio) \ adjective
profitwise \ ˈprä-​fət-​ˌwīz How to pronounce profit (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for profit

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Warby Parker reported a blended customer acquisition cost of $27 for 2019 (the last non-pandemic year), which is quite reasonable for a business that generates $72 in contribution profit per order. Jason Goldberg, Forbes, 3 Sep. 2021 Spectrum’s parent company, Charter Communications, earned nearly $4 billion in profit during the 12 months that ended June 30, up 72% from the same period last year. Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2021 Next door, Zabiullah Qadiri is running one of the few businesses that has seen an improvement in profit since the Taliban took over Kabul: a motorcycle repair shop. Susannah George, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Aug. 2021 Next door, Zabiullah Qadiri is running one of the few businesses that has seen an improvement in profit since the Taliban took over Kabul: a motorcycle repair shop. Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2021 Using difficult-to-follow calculations, Vice estimates that West has made several million dollars in profit from the listening events. Jem Aswad, Variety, 24 Aug. 2021 According to the civil complaint, the individuals accumulated about $3 million in profit from trading confidential information about Netflix’s subscriber growth, a crucial metric used in the company’s quarterly earnings announcement. Talal Ansari, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2021 In a Thursday conference call, the company reported an 11% year-over-year increase in revenue for the second quarter but an 84% decline in profit — from $45 million to $7.4 million. Dallas News, 29 July 2021 Even if the drugmaker's profits fall on the lower end of that range, that would work out to about $3 billion in profit so far this year. Arkansas Online, 29 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Reallocating excess doses and relying on pharmaceutical companies looking to profit off the prolongation of the pandemic that has driven demand for additional booster doses will not be enough to end this crisis. Reshma Ramachandran And Asia Russell, CNN, 21 Aug. 2021 Top foreign policy experts warned Wednesday that China is looking to profit from what critics are calling the U.S.' disorganized and inept withdrawal from Afghanistan. Caitlin Mcfall, Fox News, 19 Aug. 2021 Looking to profit from the trend, commercial real estate companies have been making more deals with co-working startups recently. Michelle Cheng, Quartz, 10 Aug. 2021 For the first time, college athletes can profit off their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL). Greg Riddle, Dallas News, 28 July 2021 Starting today, college athletes in Maryland can profit from their name, image and likeness. Ryan Mcfadden,, 22 July 2021 As college athletes around the country now have the opportunity to profit off of their name, image and likeness, high school athletes — including those in Connecticut — will still be prohibited from doing so. Shawn Mcfarland,, 17 July 2021 Under this patchwork of state laws and NCAA rules, athletes can now profit off their fame through endorsements, appearances, etc. Michael Casagrande |, al, 9 July 2021 Why should the schools profit so much on a player’s name? Dave Hyde,, 1 July 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for profit

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for profit

Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Profit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for profit



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
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on profit

Nglish: Translation of profit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of profit for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about profit


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