Definition of


  1. (noun, act) an activity or gift that benefits the public at large
  2. (noun, attribute) a kindly and lenient attitude toward people
  3. (noun, group) an institution set up to provide help to the needy
  4. (noun, group) a foundation created to promote the public good (not for assistance to any particular individuals)
  5. (noun, plant) pinnate-leaved European perennial having bright blue or white flowers

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Charity

  1. 1137, "benevolence for the poor," from O.Fr. charite, from L. caritas (acc. caritatem) "costliness, esteem, affection" (in Vulgate often used as translation of Gk. agape "love" -- especially Christian love of fellow man -- perhaps to avoid the sexual suggestion of L. amor), from carus "dear, valued," from PIE *karo-, from base more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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