- charitable kindness
- an altruistic gift or act
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia
Be*nev"o*lence (&?;), n. [OF.
benevolence, L. benevolentia. See Benevolent.]
1. The disposition to do good; good will;
charitableness; love of mankind, accompanied with a desire to promote their
The wakeful benevolence of the gospel.
2. An act of kindness; good done; charity
3. A species of compulsory contribution or tax,
which has sometimes been illegally exacted by arbitrary kings of England,
and falsely represented as a gratuity.
Syn. -- Benevolence, Beneficence,
Munificence. Benevolence marks a disposition made up of a
choice and desire for the happiness of others. Beneficence marks the
working of this disposition in dispensing good on a somewhat broad scale.
Munificence shows the same disposition, but acting on a still
broader scale, in conferring gifts and favors. These are not necessarily
confined to objects of immediate utility. One may show his
munificence in presents of pictures or jewelry, but this would not
be beneficence. Benevolence of heart; beneficence of
life; munificence in the encouragement of letters.
- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
Benevolence, the name of a forced tax exacted from the people by
certain kings of England, and which, under Charles I., became so
obnoxious as to occasion the demand of the Petition of Rights (q.
v.), that no tax should be levied without consent of Parliament; first
enforced in 1473, declared illegal in 1689.
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The correct spelling of this word ought to be: Benevolence
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