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- Having a disposition to do good; possessing or manifesting love to mankind, and a desire to promote their prosperity and happiness; disposed to give to good objects; kind; charitable.
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia
Be*nev"o*lent (&?;), a. [L.
benevolens, -entis; bene well (adv. of bonus
good) + volens, p. pr. of volo I will, I wish. See
Bounty, and Voluntary.] Having a disposition to do good;
possessing or manifesting love to mankind, and a desire to promote their
prosperity and happiness; disposed to give to good objects; kind;
charitable. -- Be*nev"o*lent*ly, adv.
Syn. -- Benevolent, Beneficent. Etymologically
considered, benevolent implies wishing well to others, and
beneficent, doing well. But by degrees the word
benevolent has been widened to include not only feelings, but
actions; thus, we speak of benevolent operations, benevolent
labors for the public good, benevolent societies. In like manner,
beneficent is now often applied to feelings; thus, we speak of the
beneficent intentions of a donor. This extension of the terms
enables us to mark nicer shades of meaning. Thus, the phrase
"benevolent labors" turns attention to the source of these
labors, viz., benevolent feeling; while beneficent would
simply mark them as productive of good. So, "beneficent intentions"
point to the feelings of the donor as bent upon some specific good act;
while "benevolent intentions" would only denote a general wish and
design to do good.
- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
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