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[prof-it] /ˈprɒf ɪt/
Often, profits.
  1. pecuniary gain resulting from the employment of capital in any transaction.
  2. the ratio of such pecuniary gain to the amount of capital invested.
  3. returns, proceeds, or revenue, as from property or investments.
the monetary surplus left to a producer or employer after deducting wages, rent, cost of raw materials, etc.:
The company works on a small margin of profit.
advantage; benefit; gain.
verb (used without object)
to gain an advantage or benefit:
He profited greatly from his schooling.
to make a profit.
to take advantage:
to profit from the weaknesses of others.
to be of service or benefit.
to make progress.
verb (used with object)
to be of advantage or profit to:
Nothing profits one so much as a sound education.
Origin of profit
1250-1300; (noun) Middle English < Middle French < Latin prōfectus progress, profit, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + -fec-, combining form of facere to make, do1 + -tus suffix of v. action; (v.) Middle English profiten, derivative of the noun
Related forms
profiter, noun
profitless, adjective
profitlessly, adverb
profitlessness, noun
proprofit, adjective
self-profit, noun
unprofited, adjective
unprofiting, adjective
Can be confused
profit, prophet.
1. return. 2. net income. 3. good, welfare, advancement, improvement. 4, 9. advance, improve.
1. loss.
Synonym Study
3. See advantage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for profit
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Barry must die; but what shall I profit by killing him if I kill this woman also?

    Ridgeway Scian Dubh
  • For God's sake let us profit by this advantage, and increase our distance from the enemy.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • That which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • We felt, dimly, as if we had had a "warning," and did not yet know how to profit by it.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • The profit of the master is the great end of the slave's existence.

British Dictionary definitions for profit


(often pl) excess of revenues over outlays and expenses in a business enterprise over a given period of time, usually a year
the monetary gain derived from a transaction
  1. income derived from property or an investment, as contrasted with capital gains
  2. the ratio of this income to the investment or principal
  1. the income or reward accruing to a successful entrepreneur and held to be the motivating factor of all economic activity in a capitalist economy
  2. (as modifier): the profit motive
a gain, benefit, or advantage
to gain or cause to gain profit
Derived Forms
profiter, noun
profitless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin prōfectus advance, from prōficere to make progress; see proficient
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 profit

mid-13c., "income;" c.1300, "benefit, advantage;"from Old French prufit, porfit "profit, gain" (mid-12c.), from Latin profectus "profit, advance, increase, success, progress," noun use of past participle of proficere (see proficiency). As the opposite of loss, it replaced Old English gewinn. Profit margin attested from 1853.


early 14c., "to advance, benefit, gain," from profit (n.) and from Old French prufiter, porfiter "to benefit," from prufit (see profit (n.)). Related: Profited; profiting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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