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[buh-nef-uh-suh nt] /bəˈnɛf ə sənt/
doing good or causing good to be done; conferring benefits; kindly in action or purpose.
Origin of beneficent
First recorded in 1610-20; benefic(ence) + -ent
Related forms
beneficently, adverb
nonbeneficent, adjective
nonbeneficently, adverb
unbeneficent, adjective
unbeneficently, adverb
Can be confused
beneficent, beneficial, benevolent.
beneficent, munificent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for beneficent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is the law of the land—the just, holy, beneficent law, which is no respecter of persons.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • Let the latter do it for him, and, if need be, return to the "beneficent whip."

  • The beneficent source had begun to flow once more, as if it were inexhaustible.

    Fruitfulness Emile Zola
  • It was a beneficent monarch, but it brooked no denial of its overlordship.

  • Why, then, does any dishonour attach to a beneficent occupation?

    Laws Plato
  • To such, the prison should act as a kind, beneficent guardian.

  • It was Mr. Worthington who carried out most of these beneficent works.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • To all outward seeming she led a most blameless and beneficent life.

    Victor's Triumph Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth
British Dictionary definitions for beneficent


charitable; generous
Derived Forms
beneficently, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin beneficent-, from beneficus; see benefice
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for beneficent

1610s, "doing good, charitable," probably from beneficent on model of magnificent, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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