a. Something that promotes or enhances well-being; an advantage: The nurse explained the benefits of regular exercise.
b. Help; aid: The field trip was of great benefit to the students.
a. A payment made by a government agency or insurance company to qualifying persons in time of need: an increase in welfare benefits.
b. A form of compensation, such as paid vacation time, subsidized health insurance, or a pension, provided to employees in addition to wages or salary as part of an employment arrangement. Also called fringe benefit.
3. A public entertainment, performance, or social event held to raise funds for a person or cause.
4. Archaic A kindly deed.
v. ben·e·fit·ed, ben·e·fit·ing, ben·e·fits also ben·e·fit·ted or ben·e·fit·ting
To be helpful or useful to.
To derive benefit: You will benefit from her good example.
benefit of the doubt
A favorable judgment granted in the absence of full evidence.
[Middle English, from Old French bienfait, good deed, from Latin benefactum, from benefacere, to do a service; see BENEFACTION.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.