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[en-tahy-tl-muh nt]
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  1. the act of entitling.
  2. the state of being entitled.
  3. the right to guaranteed benefits under a government program, as Social Security or unemployment compensation.
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Origin of entitlement

First recorded in 1825–35; entitle + -ment
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for entitlements



1823, perhaps in some senses from French entitlement, which long had been used in legal language; in part a native formation from entitle + -ment. Entitlement culture attested by 1994 (culture of entitlement is from 1989).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

entitlements in Culture


Federal programs, such as Social Security (see also Social Security), Medicare (see also Medicare) and Medicaid, that disburse money according to fixed formulas to citizens who fall into designated categories. Because entitlements do not require annual congressional appropriations, their cost tends to rise steadily and, in the view of some, out of control.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.