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Word of the Day for Sunday, September 21, 2008

beneficence \buh-NEFF-i-suhns\, noun:
1. The practice of doing good; active goodness, kindness, or charity.
2. A charitable gift or act.

Lord Jeffrey told Dickens that it [A Christmas Carol] had "prompted more positive acts of beneficence than can be traced to all the pulpits and confessionals in Christendom since Christmas 1842."
— Roger Highfield, The Physics of Christmas

From my grandfather Verus I learned good morals and the government of my temper. From the reputation and remembrance of my father, modesty and a manly character. From my mother, piety and beneficence and abstinence.
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

She had disseminated around her what seemed an involuntary aura of beneficence and goodwill.
— John Bayley, Elegy for Iris

Beneficence is from Latin beneficentia, from beneficus, kind, generous, obliging, from bene, well (from bonus, good) + facere, to do. One who, or that which, is characterized by beneficence is beneficent.


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