Ben"e*fice (&?;), n. [F.
bénéfice, L. beneficium, a kindness , in LL. a
grant of an estate, fr. L. beneficus beneficent; bene well +
facere to do. See Benefit.]
1. A favor or benefit. [Obs.]
2. (Feudal Law) An estate in lands; a
&fist; Such an estate was granted at first for life only, and held on
the mere good pleasure of the donor; but afterward, becoming hereditary, it
received the appellation of fief, and the term benefice
became appropriated to church livings.
3. An ecclesiastical living and church preferment,
as in the Church of England; a church endowed with a revenue for the
maintenance of divine service. See Advowson.
&fist; All church preferments are called benefices, except
bishoprics, which are called dignities. But, ordinarily, the term
dignity is applied to bishoprics, deaneries, archdeaconries, and
prebendaryships; benefice to parsonages, vicarages, and
Ben"e*fice, v. t. [imp. & p.
p. Beneficed.] To endow with a benefice.
[Commonly in the past participle.]