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[char-i-tuh-buh l] /ˈtʃær ɪ tə bəl/
generous in donations or gifts to relieve the needs of indigent, ill, or helpless persons, or of animals:
a charitable man giving much money to feed the poor.
kindly or lenient in judging people, acts, etc.:
charitable in his opinions of others.
pertaining to or concerned with charity:
a charitable institution.
Origin of charitable
1300-50; Middle English < Old French, equivalent to charit(e) charity + -able -able
Related forms
charitableness, noun
charitably, adverb
noncharitable, adjective
noncharitableness, noun
noncharitably, adverb
overcharitable, adjective
overcharitableness, noun
overcharitably, adverb
pseudocharitable, adjective
pseudocharitably, adverb
quasi-charitable, adjective
quasi-charitably, adverb
1. beneficent, liberal, bountiful, benevolent. See generous. 2. broad-minded, considerate, mild.
1. selfish. 2. severe, intolerant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for charitable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • These charitable laymen went over to Wethalie for the purpose of trade.

    The Life or Legend of Gaudama Right Reverend Paul Ambroise Bigandet
  • I am charitable enough to hope that this gratified her more than it vexed me, which was not at all.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • He wrote to his family, and sent for Sister Sainte-Genevieve, who looked after him with charitable care.

  • She was interested in all church duties 252 and in all charitable enterprises.

    A Singer from the Sea Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • He was charitable; but chose to conceal the hand that ministered relief.

British Dictionary definitions for charitable


generous in giving to the needy
kind or lenient in one's attitude towards others
concerned with or involving charity
Derived Forms
charitableness, noun
charitably, adverb
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 charitable

c.1200, in reference to the Christian virtue, from Old French charitable, from charité (see charity). Meaning "liberal in treatment of the poor" is from c.1400; that of "inclined to impute favorable motives to others" is from 1620s. Related: Charitableness; charitably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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