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[buh-nev-uh-luh nt] /bəˈnɛv ə lənt/
characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings:
a benevolent attitude; her benevolent smile.
desiring to help others; charitable:
gifts from several benevolent alumni.
intended for benefits rather than profit:
a benevolent institution.
Origin of benevolent
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin benevolent- (stem of benevolēns) kindhearted (bene- bene- + vol- wish (akin to will1) + -ent- -ent)
Related forms
benevolently, adverb
benevolentness, noun
nonbenevolent, adjective
nonbenevolently, adverb
pseudobenevolent, adjective
pseudobenevolently, adverb
quasi-benevolent, adjective
quasi-benevolently, adverb
superbenevolent, adjective
superbenevolently, adverb
unbenevolent, adjective
unbenevolently, adverb
Can be confused
beneficent, beneficial, benevolent.
2. good, kind, humane, generous, liberal, benign, philanthropic, altruistic.
cruel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for benevolent
  • Instead of being benevolent stewards of creation, we have been relentless destroyers of it.
  • My parents practiced a form of benevolent neglect, and I was always encouraged to go out and play.
  • There is surely something singularly benevolent in the character of our sovereign.
  • He's a very benevolent person.
  • Changes that occur should be made for benevolent purposes, not destructive purposes.
  • He is so benevolent and handsome with his luminous blue eyes.
  • Socrates grinned to put the boy at ease but he didn't look benevolent.
  • We became committed to rearing the world's first totally benevolent guardian dog.
  • It could also be used in a benevolent society to monitor mental health to an unprecedented degree.
  • Meanwhile concerned citizens wondered whether these ostensibly benevolent electronic eyes were developing a suspicious squint.
British Dictionary definitions for benevolent


intending or showing goodwill; kindly; friendly: a benevolent smile, a benevolent old man
doing good or giving aid to others, rather than making profit; charitable: a benevolent organization
Derived Forms
benevolently, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin benevolēns, from bene well + velle to wish
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 benevolent

mid-15c., "wishing to do good, kindly," from Middle French benivolent and directly from Latin benevolentem (nominative benevolens) "wishing (someone) well, benevolent," related to benevolentia "good feeling" (see benevolence). Related: Benevolently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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