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welfare

[wel-fair]
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noun
  1. the good fortune, health, happiness, prosperity, etc., of a person, group, or organization; well-being: to look after a child's welfare; the physical or moral welfare of society.
  2. welfare work.
  3. financial or other assistance to an individual or family from a city, state, or national government: Thousands of jobless people in this city would starve if it weren't for welfare.
  4. (initial capital letter) Informal. a governmental agency that provides funds and aid to people in need, especially those unable to work.
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Idioms
  1. on welfare, receiving financial aid from the government or from a private organization because of hardship and need.
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Origin of welfare

1275–1325; Middle English, from phrase wel fare. See well1, fare
Related formsan·ti·wel·fare, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for on welfare

welfare

noun
  1. health, happiness, prosperity, and well-being in general
    1. financial and other assistance given to people in need
    2. (as modifier)welfare services
  2. Also called: welfare work plans or work to better the social or economic conditions of various underprivileged groups
  3. the welfare informal, mainly British the public agencies involved with giving such assistance
  4. on welfare mainly US and Canadian in receipt of financial aid from a government agency or other source
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Word Origin

C14: from the phrase wel fare; related to Old Norse velferth, German Wohlfahrt; see well 1, fare
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 on welfare

welfare

n.

Old English wel faran "condition of being or doing well," from wel (see well (adv.)) + faran "get along" (see fare (v.)). Cf. Old Norse velferð. Meaning "social concern for the well-being of children, the unemployed, etc." is first attested 1904. Welfare state is recorded from 1941.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

on welfare in Culture

welfare

Government-provided support for those unable to support themselves. In the United States, it is undertaken by various federal, state, and local agencies under the auspices of different programs, the best known of which are Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and food stamps.

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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.

Idioms and Phrases with on welfare

on welfare

see on relief.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.