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[buh-nev-uh-luh ns] /bəˈnɛv ə ləns/
desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness:
to be filled with benevolence toward one's fellow creatures.
an act of kindness; a charitable gift.
English History. a forced contribution to the sovereign.
Origin of benevolence
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin benevolentia. See benevolent, -ence
Related forms
nonbenevolence, noun
superbenevolence, noun
unbenevolence, noun
1. malevolence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for benevolence
  • He could be a demeaning boss, yet he was capable of great benevolence.
  • Their benevolence will not soon be forgotten.
  • For this act of generous benevolence I beg to tender to you and your .
  • In his first novel, Haynes offers engaging characters who tackle fundamental issues such as love, family and benevolence.
  • How could anything survive the magnitude of such intensity of being so near the sun and all of it's benevolence.
  • If a student is intentionally rude to me, I lose all sense of benevolence.
  • The season of benevolence is also a season of conflicts.
  • There was an entire absence of effusive benevolence in his manner; .
  • So much benevolence as a man hath, so much life hath he.
  • Such benevolence is not unique to humans but exists also in complex insect societies.
British Dictionary definitions for benevolence


inclination or tendency to help or do good to others; charity
an act of kindness
(in the Middle Ages) a forced loan or contribution exacted by English kings from their nobility and subjects
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 benevolence

c.1400, "disposition to do good," from Old French benivolence and directly from Latin benevolentia "good feeling, good will, kindness," from bene "well" (see bene-) + volantem (nominative volens) present participle of velle "to wish" (see will (v.)). In English history, this was the name given to forced extra-legal loans or contributions to the crown, first so called 1473 by Edward IV, who cynically "asked" it as a token of good will toward his rule.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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