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[ben-uh-fish-uh l] /ˌbɛn əˈfɪʃ əl/
conferring benefit; advantageous; helpful:
the beneficial effect of sunshine.
  1. helpful in the meeting of needs:
    a beneficial association.
  2. involving the personal enjoyment of proceeds:
    a beneficial owner.
Origin of beneficial
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Late Latin beneficiālis, equivalent to Latin benefici(um) kindness (see benefice) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
beneficially, adverb
beneficialness, noun
nonbeneficial, adjective
nonbeneficially, adverb
nonbeneficialness, noun
quasi-beneficial, adjective
quasi-beneficially, adverb
unbeneficial, adjective
unbeneficially, adverb
unbeneficialness, noun
Can be confused
beneficent, beneficial, benevolent.
1. salutary, wholesome, serviceable, useful, favorable, profitable.
1. harmful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for beneficial
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Did I not say just now that lightning has sometimes—though very rarely—exercised a beneficial influence on sick people it strikes?

    Thunder and Lightning Camille Flammarion
  • Often it was employed for useful results and with beneficial effect on useful arts.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • Many of our good citizens have interested themselves, with the most beneficial results, in the question of prison reform.

  • It is beneficial for dyspepsia, gout, rheumatism, and scrofulous diseases.

    Down the Rhine Oliver Optic
  • Unless the soil is moist, a little water put in the hole with the plant is beneficial.

    Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study Ontario Ministry of Education
British Dictionary definitions for beneficial


(sometimes foll by to) causing a good result; advantageous
(law) entitling a person to receive the profits or proceeds of property: a beneficial interest in land
Derived Forms
beneficially, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Late Latin beneficiālis, from Latin beneficium kindness
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 beneficial

mid-15c., "helpful, advantageous," from Middle French bénéficial and directly from Latin beneficialis "pertaining to a favor," from beneficium (see benefice). Related: Beneficially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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