- generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless: to devote one's life to charity.
- something given to a person or persons in need; alms: She asked for work, not charity.
- a charitable act or work.
- a charitable fund, foundation, or institution: He left his estate to a charity.
- benevolent feeling, especially toward those in need or in disfavor: She looked so poor that we fed her out of charity.
- leniency in judging others; forbearance: She was inclined to view our selfish behavior with charity.
- Christian love; agape.
Origin of charity
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- a female given name.
Examples from the Web for charity
These brave souls took an icy dip in the ocean to ring in 2015 and raise money for charity.Diving Into 2015 With Polar Bear Plunge Extremists
January 1, 2015
Gilkes says the charity auctions Paddle8 does are “extremely important” for this reason.William, Kate, and Jay Z’s Favorite Art Star: Alexander Gilkes' World of Rock Stars and Royalty
December 10, 2014
That side is volunteering extensively in his hometown of Flint, and recently, pastoring Charity United Methodist Church.A Black Cop’s Tough Words for Mike Brown
Mary M. Chapman
December 3, 2014
Jack Lundie, Director of Communications for the British charity Oxfam, defended the single to the Daily Beast.Do They Know It’s Time to Stop Band Aid?
November 22, 2014
Harry was in Oman for a charity polo match earlier this week, the Sentebale Polo Cup.Harry Chats With Ginger Spice Geri At F1 In Abu Dhabi
November 22, 2014
The rest of the estate went to the testator's widow for life, and then to charity.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Won't they dance, even for charity, except in their own houses?The Bacillus of Beauty
He wished to do an act of charity as far as he could afford it.Rico and Wiseli
What could she invent, so to be before him in giving her charity?
But the worst of all in this matter was that Angelique soon despaired of her charity.
- the giving of help, money, food, etc, to those in need
- (as modifier)a charity show
- an institution or organization set up to provide help, money, etc, to those in need
- (as modifier)charity funds
- the help, money, etc, given to the needy; alms
- a kindly and lenient attitude towards people
- love of one's fellow men
Word Origin and History for charity
mid-12c., "benevolence for the poor," from Old French charité "(Christian) charity, mercy, compassion; alms; charitable foundation" (12c., Old North French carité), from Latin caritatem (nominative caritas) "costliness, esteem, affection" (in Vulgate often used as translation of Greek agape "love" -- especially Christian love of fellow man -- perhaps to avoid the sexual suggestion of Latin amor), from carus "dear, valued," from PIE *karo-, from root *ka- "to like, desire" (see whore (n.)).
Vulgate also sometimes translated agape by Latin dilectio, noun of action from diligere "to esteem highly, to love" (see diligence).
Wyclif and the Rhemish version regularly rendered the Vulgate dilectio by 'love,' caritas by 'charity.' But the 16th c. Eng. versions from Tindale to 1611, while rendering agape sometimes 'love,' sometimes 'charity,' did not follow the dilectio and caritas of the Vulgate, but used 'love' more often (about 86 times), confining 'charity' to 26 passages in the Pauline and certain of the Catholic Epistles (not in I John), and the Apocalypse .... In the Revised Version 1881, 'love' has been substituted in all these instances, so that it now stands as the uniform rendering of agape. [OED]
Sense of "charitable foundation or institution" in English attested by 1690s.