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[prof-it] /ˈprɒf ɪt/
Often, profits.
  1. pecuniary gain resulting from the employment of capital in any transaction.
  2. the ratio of such pecuniary gain to the amount of capital invested.
  3. returns, proceeds, or revenue, as from property or investments.
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.
advantage; benefit; gain.
verb (used without object)
to gain an advantage or benefit:
He profited greatly from his schooling.
to make a profit.
to take advantage:
to profit from the weaknesses of others.
to be of service or benefit.
to make progress.
verb (used with object)
to be of advantage or profit to:
Nothing profits one so much as a sound education.
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 forms
profiter, noun
profitless, adjective
profitlessly, adverb
profitlessness, noun
proprofit, adjective
self-profit, noun
unprofited, adjective
unprofiting, adjective
Can be confused
profit, prophet.
1. return. 2. net income. 3. good, welfare, advancement, improvement. See advantage. 4, 9. advance, improve.
1. loss. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for profit
  • After figuring your business income and expenses, you are ready to figure the net profit or net loss from your business.
  • The old imperialism-exploitation for foreign profit-has no place in our plans.
  • He promoted crocodile farming and the harvesting of wild eggs as a way for landowners to profit from having crocs on their land.
  • Moviemaking has been the almost exclusive dominion of large organizations usually driven more by profit than by stories.
  • Over the last few years it is almost impossible to make a profit on our various farm operations.
  • Describes how he rebuilt vintage airplanes and sold them for a substantial profit to keep his crater project going.
  • And each time, people have said the film couldn't make a profit.
  • Such a system allows efficient users to profit while wasteful users must pay for burning more fuel.
  • Generally no series turns a profit for its producers until it goes into syndication-many years after the initial, high investment.
  • Pharmaceutical firms are profit-making enterprises, which often earn huge profits from proprietary drugs.
British Dictionary definitions for profit


(often pl) excess of revenues over outlays and expenses in a business enterprise over a given period of time, usually a year
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
  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
a gain, benefit, or advantage
to gain or cause to gain profit
Derived Forms
profiter, noun
profitless, 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
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Word Origin and History for profit

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.


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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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