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90s Slang You Should Know


[geyn-fuh l] /ˈgeɪn fəl/
profitable; lucrative:
gainful employment.
Origin of gainful
First recorded in 1545-55; gain1 + -ful
Related forms
gainfully, adverb
gainfulness, noun
ungainful, adjective
ungainfully, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gainful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In offenses against chastity their showing is bad, but their bent for gainful crime is slight.

    The Old World in the New Edward Alsworth Ross
  • The pursuit of gainful effort is as old as the existence of man on earth.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • The proportion of the population engaged in gainful occupation at the present time is significant.

  • What was our status in the business pursuits and gainful occupations at that time?

  • One needs only to point out to them that the pursuit is gainful, and their interest is aroused.

    The Economist Xenophon
  • His gainful pursuit was that of being a commercial traveller.

    Local Color Irvin S. Cobb
  • Remember how gainful the redeeming of time is, and how exceeding comfortable in the review!

  • Now Harald has got him east away, And each morrow of fight was a gainful day.

    Poems by the Way William Morris
  • He certainly lived well, and had no visible occupation of the sort the census takers call "gainful."

    A Black Adonis Linn Boyd Porter
British Dictionary definitions for gainful


profitable; lucrative: gainful employment
Derived Forms
gainfully, adverb
gainfulness, noun
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 gainful

1540s (implied in gainfully), from gain + -ful. Phrase gainfully employed attested from 1796.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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