beneficient vs benevolent

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Tan Elaine

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Could someone tell me the difference between beneficient and benevolent.

They appear to be synonymous.

Thanks in advance.
 

BobK

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beneficent - doing good (You got the extra I from "beneficial")
benevolent - having good intentions

So a benevolent person may do no good at all.

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Atchan

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I want to add several nice words. :-D

Beneficiary - Except for Benedict Arnold, who did not treat his country well, all other words beginning with bene speak only of good, for that is what this prefix (a letter or letters attached at the beginning of a word) means. Here is a list of such "good" words: benefactor, beneficent, beneficial, benefit, benevolent, benign. In your reading, have you come across the letters N.B. in front of certain passages? The author is telling you to "note it well" (nota bene).

Beneficiary: a person or group who receives money, advantages, etc. as a result of something else.
Benefactor: someone who gives money to help an organization, society or person.
Beneficent: helping people and doing good acts.
Beneficial: helpful, useful or good.
Benefit: a helpful or good effect, or something intended to help.
Benevolent: kind and helpful.
Benign: pleasant and kind.
 

BobK

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:up: And why stop at the prefix? Think of all the words to do with wanting [Latin volo =I want] - benevolent, malevolent, voluntary, volition. Shakespeare used this when he named the anti-hero of Twelfth Night: how could a character called 'Malvolio' be anything but bad? (Or was he?... Perhaps he was 'More sinned against than sinning'?...)

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Tan Elaine

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Hi BobK

The meaning of 'benevolent' found in the dictionaries I referred give the meaning of the word as 'kind and helpful'. I am indeed confused by why it should have a negative connotation.

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BobK

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Hi BobK

The meaning of 'benevolent' found in the dictionaries I referred give the meaning of the word as 'kind and helpful'. I am indeed confused by why it should have a negative connotation.

Thanks in advance.

It doesn't! The character I mentioned was 'Malvolio'. (I think there's a character in another Shakespeare play called 'Benvolio', but it's a long time since I studied Shakespeare - Google would know!)

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PS It was Benvolio, in Romeo and Juliet. (The irony of the name is that he meant well, but he suggested that Romeo should go to party where he met Juliet...)
 
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BobK

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PS :oops: it was silly of me not to think... For speakers of languages derived from Latin, the 'Mal-/Ben-' contrast is obvious.

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