• synonyms


[buh-nev-uh-luh nt]
See more synonyms for benevolent on Thesaurus.com
  1. characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings: a benevolent attitude; her benevolent smile.
  2. desiring to help others; charitable: gifts from several benevolent alumni.
  3. intended for benefits rather than profit: a benevolent institution.
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Origin of benevolent

1425–75; late Middle English < Latin benevolent- (stem of benevolēns) kindhearted (bene- bene- + vol- wish (akin to will1) + -ent- -ent)
Related formsbe·nev·o·lent·ly, adverbbe·nev·o·lent·ness, nounnon·be·nev·o·lent, adjectivenon·be·nev·o·lent·ly, adverbpseu·do·be·nev·o·lent, adjectivepseu·do·be·nev·o·lent·ly, adverbqua·si-be·nev·o·lent, adjectivequa·si-be·nev·o·lent·ly, adverbsu·per·be·nev·o·lent, adjectivesu·per·be·nev·o·lent·ly, adverbun·be·nev·o·lent, adjectiveun·be·nev·o·lent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedbeneficent beneficial benevolent


See more synonyms for benevolent on Thesaurus.com
2. good, kind, humane, generous, liberal, benign, philanthropic, altruistic.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for benevolently

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Mrs. Riley counted herself too benevolently shrewd for that.

    Dr. Sevier

    George W. Cable

  • "This is a very bad business, my dear fellow," he said benevolently.

    The Pirates of Ersatz

    Murray Leinster

  • Isaac laid a hand upon his shoulder and smiled at him benevolently.

    The heart of happy hollow

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

  • "He can have his choice of any piece in the box," thought Jerry benevolently.

    Jerry's Charge Account

    Hazel Hutchins Wilson

  • He was smiling as benevolently as if he could embrace the whole world.

    Agatha's Husband

    Dinah Maria Craik (AKA: Dinah Maria Mulock)

British Dictionary definitions for benevolently


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

Word Origin

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 benevolently



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper