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Webster 1913 Edition


Benevolent

Be-nev′o-lent

,
Adj.
[L.
benevolens
,
-entis
;
bene
well (adv. of
bonus
good) +
volens
, p. pr. of
volo
I will, I wish. See
Bounty
, and
Voluntary
.]
Having a disposition to do good; possessing or manifesting love to mankind, and a desire to promote their prosperity and happiness; disposed to give to good objects; kind; charitable.
Be-nev′o-lent-ly
,
adv.
Syn.
Benevolent
,
Beneficent
.
Etymologically considered, benevolent implies wishing well to others, and beneficent, doing well. But by degrees the word benevolent has been widened to include not only feelings, but actions; thus, we speak of benevolent operations, benevolent labors for the public good, benevolent societies. In like manner, beneficent is now often applied to feelings; thus, we speak of the beneficent intentions of a donor. This extension of the terms enables us to mark nicer shades of meaning. Thus, the phrase “benevolent labors” turns attention to the source of these labors, viz., benevolent feeling; while beneficent would simply mark them as productive of good. So, “beneficent intentions” point to the feelings of the donor as bent upon some specific good act; while “benevolent intentions” would only denote a general wish and design to do good.

Webster 1828 Edition


Benevolent

BENEV'OLENT

,
Adj.
[L. benevolens, of bene and volo.]
Having a disposition to do good; possessing love to mankind, and a desire to promote their prosperity and happiness; kind.

Definition 2022


benevolent

benevolent

English

Adjective

benevolent (comparative more benevolent, superlative most benevolent)

  1. Having a disposition to do good.
    Chinese and Eastern mythologies describe dragons as benevolent.
  2. Possessing or manifesting love for mankind.
  3. altruistic, charitable, good, just and fair.
  4. generous.

Antonyms

Translations

See also