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[buh-nev-uh-luh nt] /bəˈnɛv ə lənt/
characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings:
a benevolent attitude; her benevolent smile.
desiring to help others; charitable:
gifts from several benevolent alumni.
intended for benefits rather than profit:
a benevolent institution.
Origin of benevolent
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin benevolent- (stem of benevolēns) kindhearted (bene- bene- + vol- wish (akin to will1) + -ent- -ent)
Related forms
benevolently, adverb
benevolentness, noun
nonbenevolent, adjective
nonbenevolently, adverb
pseudobenevolent, adjective
pseudobenevolently, adverb
quasi-benevolent, adjective
quasi-benevolently, adverb
superbenevolent, adjective
superbenevolently, adverb
unbenevolent, adjective
unbenevolently, adverb
Can be confused
beneficent, beneficial, benevolent.
2. good, kind, humane, generous, liberal, benign, philanthropic, altruistic.
cruel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for benevolently
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Germans tried in every way to block the project for it interfered with their scheme to "benevolently" assimilate Angola.

    An African Adventure Isaac F. Marcosson
  • Isaac laid a hand upon his shoulder and smiled at him benevolently.

    The heart of happy hollow Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • The stranger looked at us thoughtfully, benevolently almost.

    Dimbie and I--and Amelia Mabel Barnes-Grundy
  • "He can have his choice of any piece in the box," thought Jerry benevolently.

    Jerry's Charge Account Hazel Hutchins Wilson
  • Maximilian regarded him benevolently, thinking it a crisis of emotion.

    The Missourian Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle
  • He was smiling as benevolently as if he could embrace the whole world.

    Agatha's Husband Dinah Maria Craik (AKA: Dinah Maria Mulock)
  • Some will be benevolently conceived in a desire to save China from herself and shorten her period of chaos and confusion.

  • Mrs. Riley counted herself too benevolently shrewd for that.

    Dr. Sevier George W. Cable
  • Miss Lydia merely smiled humorously, benevolently, over her work.

    Saturday's Child Kathleen Norris
British Dictionary definitions for benevolently


intending or showing goodwill; kindly; friendly: a benevolent smile, a benevolent old man
doing good or giving aid to others, rather than making profit; charitable: a benevolent organization
Derived Forms
benevolently, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin benevolēns, from bene well + velle to wish
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 benevolently



mid-15c., "wishing to do good, kindly," from Middle French benivolent and directly from Latin benevolentem (nominative benevolens) "wishing (someone) well, benevolent," related to benevolentia "good feeling" (see benevolence). Related: Benevolently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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