generous in donations or gifts to relieve the needs of indigent, ill, or helpless persons, or of animals: a charitable man giving much money to feed the poor.
kindly or lenient in judging people, acts, etc.: charitable in his opinions of others.
pertaining to or concerned with charity: a charitable institution.

Origin of charitable

1300–50; Middle English < Old French, equivalent to charit(e) charity + -able -able
Related formschar·i·ta·ble·ness, nounchar·i·ta·bly, adverbnon·char·i·ta·ble, adjectivenon·char·i·ta·ble·ness, nounnon·char·i·ta·bly, adverbo·ver·char·i·ta·ble, adjectiveo·ver·char·i·ta·ble·ness, nouno·ver·char·i·ta·bly, adverbpseu·do·char·i·ta·ble, adjectivepseu·do·char·i·ta·bly, adverbqua·si-char·i·ta·ble, adjectivequa·si-char·i·ta·bly, adverb

Synonyms for charitable

Synonym study

1. See generous.

Antonyms for charitable Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for charitable

Contemporary Examples of charitable

Historical Examples of charitable

  • I am charitable enough to hope that this gratified her more than it vexed me, which was not at all.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • I tried to be charitable, to relieve poverty, but they say there is no poverty to be relieved.

  • The duchess only survived Fox a year; she died in 1806, beloved, charitable, penitent.

  • She was interested in all church duties 252 and in all charitable enterprises.

    A Singer from the Sea

    Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

  • It is true, there is infinite pleasure in this charitable pursuit.

    The Contrast

    Royall Tyler

British Dictionary definitions for charitable



generous in giving to the needy
kind or lenient in one's attitude towards others
concerned with or involving charity
Derived Formscharitableness, nouncharitably, adverb
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 charitable

c.1200, in reference to the Christian virtue, from Old French charitable, from charité (see charity). Meaning "liberal in treatment of the poor" is from c.1400; that of "inclined to impute favorable motives to others" is from 1620s. Related: Charitableness; charitably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper