Definition of benevolent in English:

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Pronunciation: /bɪˈnɛv(ə)l(ə)nt/


1Well meaning and kindly: he was something of a benevolent despot a benevolent smile
More example sentences
  • James has a winning grin, a benevolent smile and an infectious laugh.
  • The General gave the crowd of reporters a benevolent smile, which they simply ignored.
  • Jullie looked at him, with that benevolent smile that always seemed to be on her face.
kind, kindly, kind-hearted, warm-hearted, tender-hearted, big-hearted, good-natured, good, gracious, tolerant, benign, compassionate, caring, sympathetic, considerate, thoughtful, well meaning, obliging, accommodating, helpful, decent, neighbourly, public-spirited, charitable, altruistic, humane, humanitarian, philanthropic;
generous, magnanimous, munificent, unselfish, ungrudging, unstinting, open-handed, free-handed, free, liberal, lavish, bountiful, beneficent, indulgent
literary bounteous
rare benignant
1.1 [attributive] (Of an organization) serving a charitable rather than a profit-making purpose: a benevolent fund
More example sentences
  • Some paid for the privilege of nailing by contributing to a war charity or benevolent organization.
  • Also returning will be the local firefighters, who will be collecting money for their benevolent fund as well as their own depot.
  • He hopes to raise £5,000 which will go to the British Heart Foundation and army benevolent fund.
charitable, non-profit-making, non-profit, not-for-profit
historical almsgiving
rare eleemosynary



Pronunciation: /bɪˈnɛvələntli/
Example sentences
  • The statue, with outspread wings and hands raised benevolently, was on a trough where horses drank before pulling their heavy loads up the hill.
  • We are looked upon quite benevolently, and we are quite an old fashioned company - we always pay our bills within a few days, but we are not daft!
  • She looked surprised and smiled benevolently at me - ‘Outspoken child’, she probably thought to herself.


Late Middle English: from Old French benivolent, from Latin bene volent- 'well wishing', from bene 'well' + velle 'to wish'.

  • This comes, via Old French, from Latin bene volent- ‘well wishing’.

Words that rhyme with benevolent

malevolent, prevalent

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ben|evo¦lent

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