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See more synonyms for profit on Thesaurus.com
  1. Often profits.
    1. pecuniary gain resulting from the employment of capital in any transaction.Compare gross profit, net profit.
    2. the ratio of such pecuniary gain to the amount of capital invested.
    3. returns, proceeds, or revenue, as from property or investments.
  2. the monetary surplus left to a producer or employer after deducting wages, rent, cost of raw materials, etc.: The company works on a small margin of profit.
  3. advantage; benefit; gain.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to gain an advantage or benefit: He profited greatly from his schooling.
  2. to make a profit.
  3. to take advantage: to profit from the weaknesses of others.
  4. to be of service or benefit.
  5. to make progress.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to be of advantage or profit to: Nothing profits one so much as a sound education.
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Origin of profit

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English < Middle French < Latin prōfectus progress, profit, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + -fec-, combining form of facere to make, do1 + -tus suffix of v. action; (v.) Middle English profiten, derivative of the noun
Related formsprof·it·er, nounprof·it·less, adjectiveprof·it·less·ly, adverbprof·it·less·ness, nounpro·prof·it, adjectiveself-prof·it, nounun·prof·it·ed, adjectiveun·prof·it·ing, adjective
Can be confusedprofit prophet


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Synonym study

3. See advantage.


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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for profitless

Historical Examples

  • The discussion was as profitless as that arising from the blacklist.

    The Story of the Great War, Volume VI (of VIII)


  • They were like the fretful and profitless chafings of waves upon a rock.

    The Reign of Mary Tudor

    W. Llewelyn Williams.

  • All in all, it had been a profitless speculation on Les King's part.

    Ten From Infinity

    Paul W. Fairman

  • Are not some of us profitless and barren because we are too indolent to pray?

    Broken Bread

    Thomas Champness

  • Five mortal times did Raja Vikram repeat this profitless labour.

    Vikram and the Vampire

    Richard F. Burton

British Dictionary definitions for profitless


  1. (often plural) excess of revenues over outlays and expenses in a business enterprise over a given period of time, usually a year
  2. the monetary gain derived from a transaction
    1. income derived from property or an investment, as contrasted with capital gains
    2. the ratio of this income to the investment or principal
  3. economics
    1. the income or reward accruing to a successful entrepreneur and held to be the motivating factor of all economic activity in a capitalist economy
    2. (as modifier)the profit motive
  4. a gain, benefit, or advantage
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  1. to gain or cause to gain profit
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Derived Formsprofiter, nounprofitless, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Latin prōfectus advance, from prōficere to make progress; see proficient
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 profitless


1590s, from profit (n.) + -less.

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mid-13c., "income;" c.1300, "benefit, advantage;"from Old French prufit, porfit "profit, gain" (mid-12c.), from Latin profectus "profit, advance, increase, success, progress," noun use of past participle of proficere (see proficiency). As the opposite of loss, it replaced Old English gewinn. Profit margin attested from 1853.

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early 14c., "to advance, benefit, gain," from profit (n.) and from Old French prufiter, porfiter "to benefit," from prufit (see profit (n.)). Related: Profited; profiting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper