[ buh-nev-uh-luhnt ]
/ 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.

Nearby words

  1. benelux,
  2. benemid,
  3. benempt,
  4. benevento,
  5. benevolence,
  6. benevolent and protective order of elks,
  7. benevolent sexism,
  8. benevolently,
  9. beneš,
  10. beneš, eduard

Origin of benevolent

1425–75; late Middle English < Latin benevolent- (stem of benevolēns) kindhearted (bene- bene- + vol- wish (akin to will1) + -ent- -ent)

Related forms
Can be confusedbeneficent beneficial benevolent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for benevolent

British Dictionary definitions for benevolent


/ (bɪˈnɛvələnt) /


intending or showing goodwill; kindly; friendlya benevolent smile; a benevolent old man
doing good or giving aid to others, rather than making profit; charitablea benevolent organization
Derived Formsbenevolently, adverb

Word Origin for benevolent

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

Word Origin and History for benevolent



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