Definition of welfare in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈwelˌfer/


1The health, happiness, and fortunes of a person or group: they don’t give a damn about the welfare of their families
More example sentences
  • He said that the health, safety and welfare of officers was always of concern.
  • Provision for the pupils' care, health, safety and welfare is very good.
  • After a month or so a programme of home visits begins, and enquiries are made about the health and general welfare of each family.
well-being, health, comfort, security, safety, protection, prosperity, success, fortune;
interest, good
1.1Statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need: the protection of rights to education, housing, and welfare
More example sentences
  • Social welfare service employees and municipal inspectors are also on strike.
  • To be sure, every increase in wages and social welfare measures boosts demand.
  • Mr. Rector has advocated devoting much more federal welfare money for promoting marriage.
1.2chiefly North American Financial support given to people in need.
Example sentences
  • We know that real jobs are a better guarantee of prosperity for the unemployed than welfare.
  • The workers are demanding an expansion and prompt payment of welfare benefits to the unemployed.
  • The Government wants to keep putting up taxes in order to support its welfare expenditure.
social security, social assistance, benefit, public assistance;
pension, credit, support;
sick pay, unemployment benefit
informal the dole


on welfare

Receiving government financial assistance for basic material needs.
Example sentences
  • Relatively low levels of the community are therefore on welfare and public assistance.
  • Elisa cut off financial support, prompting Emily and her children to go on welfare.
  • One was on welfare living off the dole, but I think that two of them had jobs, wives, and small children.


Middle English: from the adverb well1 + the verb fare.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: wel·fare

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