welfare

[wel-fair]
noun
1.
the good fortune, health, happiness, prosperity, etc., of a person, group, or organization; well-being: to look after a child's welfare; the physical or moral welfare of society.
3.
financial or other assistance to an individual or family from a city, state, or national government: Thousands of jobless people in this city would starve if it weren't for welfare.
4.
(initial capital letter) Informal. a governmental agency that provides funds and aid to people in need, especially those unable to work.
Idioms
5.
on welfare, receiving financial aid from the government or from a private organization because of hardship and need.

Origin:
1275–1325; Middle English, from phrase wel fare. See well1, fare

antiwelfare, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
welfare (ˈwɛlˌfɛə)
 
n
1.  health, happiness, prosperity, and well-being in general
2.  a.  financial and other assistance given to people in need
 b.  (as modifier): welfare services
3.  Also called: welfare work plans or work to better the social or economic conditions of various underprivileged groups
4.  informal chiefly (Brit) the welfare the public agencies involved with giving such assistance
5.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) on welfare in receipt of financial aid from a government agency or other source
 
[C14: from the phrase wel fare; related to Old Norse velferth, German Wohlfahrt; see well1, fare]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

welfare
O.E. wel faran "condition of being or doing well," from wel (see well (adv.)) + faran "get along" (see fare (v.)). Cf. O.N. velferð. Meaning "social concern for the well-being of children, the unemployed, etc." is first attested 1904. Welfare state is recorded from 1941.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

welfare definition


Government-provided support for those unable to support themselves. In the United States, it is undertaken by various federal, state, and local agencies under the auspices of different programs, the best known of which are Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and food stamps.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
His welfare is of my concern.
She became active in campaigning against land mines and in favor of animal
  welfare.
Organic farming is not just about pesticides and animal welfare.
There is going to be a fresh, new perspective on welfare in the new Congress.
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