Definition of benefit in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbenəfit/


1An advantage or profit gained from something: tenants bought their houses with the benefit of a discount enjoy the benefits of being a member uninformed criticism is of benefit to no one
More example sentences
  • Every other facility can only be enjoyed with the benefit of good health.
  • Bishop Foley took an early lead with the benefit of a strong breeze but Gaelscoil battled hard throughout and never gave up.
  • Emily Barr wrote a dark, funny novel called Backpack that, with the benefit of Chick Lit packaging, gained huge sales.
good, sake, welfare, well-being, advantage, comfort, ease, convenience;
help, aid, assistance, service;
advantage, reward, merit, boon, blessing, virtue;
informal perk
formal perquisite
2A payment or gift made by an employer, the state, or an insurance company: welfare benefits wages and benefits
More example sentences
  • This situation in particular refers to people who receive social welfare benefits and old age pension recipients.
  • Full funding for our courses can be provided for people receiving various social welfare payments or benefits.
  • For longer sick leaves, they received benefits from the Social Insurance Institution.
social security, welfare, assistance, employment insurance, unemployment, food stamps;
charity, donations, gifts, financial assistance
3A public performance or other entertainment of which the proceeds go to a particular charitable cause.
Example sentences
  • His daughter presents a one-off tribute to her dad in a benefit gig for multiple-sclerosis charities.
  • An independent record store must sell to the Music Town chain unless its wacky employees can raise enough money through a benefit gig.
  • They could very easily put together a benefit gig and raise the money Moo lost.
fundraiser, fundraising event, charity affair, charity event

verb (benefits, benefiting or benefitting, benefited or benefitted)

[no object]
1Receive an advantage; profit; gain: areas that would benefit from regeneration
More example sentences
  • Preventing people who may benefit from receiving a drug treatment that works will see us lose a decade of progress and return to a dark age of dementia care.
  • The service can only exist on the subscriptions received from households who benefit from the service.
  • It seems that some patients needing blood transfusions may benefit from receiving chicken blood rather than human blood.
profit from, gain from, reap benefits from, reap reward(s) from, make money from;
make the most of, exploit, turn to one's advantage, put to good use, do well out of
informal cash in on, make a killing from
1.1 [with object] Bring advantage to: the bill will benefit the nation
More example sentences
  • Engineering projects benefit the area and bring more people.
  • She says competitions and opportunities to exhibit and display artistic work benefit the artist and bring enjoyment to people.
  • She says it is going to take executives of color to bring about changes to benefit the parity of newsroom diversity.
be advantageous to, be beneficial to, be of advantage to, be to the advantage of, profit, do good to, be of service to, serve, be useful to, be of use to, be helpful to, be of help to, help, aid, assist, be of assistance to;
better, improve, strengthen, boost, advance, further



benefit of clergy

1 historical Exemption of the English clergy and nuns from the jurisdiction of the ordinary civil courts, granted in the Middle Ages but abolished in 1827.
Example sentences
  • In England and America, branding on the thumb was a standard non-capital sentence for those granted benefit of clergy after conviction for many crimes such as grand larceny.
  • Much of this disparity was due to the fact that women could not plead benefit of clergy, a legal fiction that helped a great many male thieves escape with a branding.
  • In the 12th cent. the boundaries between royal and ecclesiastical jurisdiction and the extent of benefit of clergy were hotly disputed and contributed much to the conflict between Henry II and Becket.
2Ecclesiastical sanction or approval: they lived together without benefit of clergy
More example sentences
  • Men and women living together and having sexual relations ‘without benefit of clergy,’ as the old phrasing goes, became not merely an accepted lifestyle, but the dominant lifestyle in the under-30 demographic within the past few years.
  • She generally portrayed a successful career woman pursued by a chauvinist (usually Rock Hudson), to whom she eventually decides to give herself without benefit of clergy.
  • Dedicating and consecrating, commemorating and celebrating - all these can be done ‘without benefit of clergy.’

the benefit of the doubt

A concession that a person or fact must be regarded as correct or justified, if the contrary has not been proven: I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt as to whether it was deliberate or not
More example sentences
  • I want to give him the benefit of the doubt and accept the fact that he really wants to be treated.
  • They are at the start of a long journey, and must be given the benefit of the doubt.
  • I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt and in my view it has never been proved that Glyn did anything wrong.

for the benefit of

1In order to help, guide, or be of service to: a man who has spent his life fighting evil for the benefit of the community
More example sentences
  • Conflicts are fought by nation states for the benefit of the state, not the civilisation.
  • I am a socialist, and have been fighting and will fight for an absolute reconstruction of society for the benefit of all.
  • Its responsibilities extend far beyond the City boundaries in that it also provides a host of additional facilities for the benefit of the nation.
2In order to interest or impress someone: it was all an act put on for his benefit
More example sentences
  • They appear designed to give a false impression of real concern for him for the benefit of the court and the media.
  • But to keep up appearances, perhaps for the benefit of us tourists, a ridiculous play is acted out.
  • This is not an act put on for the benefit of the media, she's always been the one to put her family first and almost nothing is heard about her love-life.

give someone the benefit of

often ironic Explain or recount to someone at length: the whole assembly was given the benefit of his opinions
More example sentences
  • As a result of this research I am in a position to give you the benefit of all that accumulated wisdom.
  • Either way, come out from that dark, wet hole and give us the benefit of your… um… energetic perspective on an array of subjects.
  • Once again war news is wall to wall and in every public house, bus and train there are ‘experts ‘ready and willing to give us the benefit of their military and political knowledge and to share with us their opinions on the situation in Iraq.’


Late Middle English (originally denoting a kind deed or something well done): from Old French bienfet, from Latin benefactum 'good deed', from bene facere 'do good (to)'.

  • The source of benefit is Latin benefactum, ‘a good deed’, and that was the original meaning in English, in the late Middle Ages. The ordinary modern sense is recorded from the early 16th century. To give someone the benefit of the doubt originally meant to give a verdict of not guilty when the evidence was not conclusive.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ben·e·fit

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