[ buh-nev-uh-luhns ]
/ bəˈnɛv ə ləns /


desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness: to be filled with benevolence toward one's fellow creatures.
an act of kindness; a charitable gift.
English History. a forced contribution to the sovereign.

Origin of benevolence

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Latin word benevolentia. See benevolent, -ence
Related formsnon·be·nev·o·lence, nounsu·per·be·nev·o·lence, nounun·be·nev·o·lence, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for benevolence

British Dictionary definitions for benevolence


/ (bɪˈnɛvələns) /


inclination or tendency to help or do good to others; charity
an act of kindness
(in the Middle Ages) a forced loan or contribution exacted by English kings from their nobility and subjects
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

Word Origin and History for benevolence



c.1400, "disposition to do good," from Old French benivolence and directly from Latin benevolentia "good feeling, good will, kindness," from bene "well" (see bene-) + volantem (nominative volens) present participle of velle "to wish" (see will (v.)). In English history, this was the name given to forced extra-legal loans or contributions to the crown, first so called 1473 by Edward IV, who cynically "asked" it as a token of good will toward his rule.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper