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See also: Charity


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From Middle English charite, from Old French charité, cherte, chariteit, cariteit, from Latin cāritās.



charity (countable and uncountable, plural charities)

  1. (countable) An organization, the objective of which is to carry out a charitable purpose.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 6, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      [] I remember a lady coming to inspect St. Mary's Home where I was brought up and seeing us all in our lovely Elizabethan uniforms we were so proud of, and bursting into tears all over us because “it was wicked to dress us like charity children”. []’.
  2. (countable) The goods or money given to those in need.
  3. (uncountable) Benevolence to others less fortunate than ourselves; the providing of goods or money to those in need.
  4. In general, an attitude of kindness and understanding towards others, now especially suggesting generosity.
    • July 20, 1677, John Mitchell Mason, letter to a friend
      Judge thyself with the judgment of sincerity, and thou witl judge others with the judgment of charity.
  5. (archaic, Christianity) Christian love; representing God's love of man, man's love of God, or man's love of his fellow-men.
    Synonym: agape
  6. (US, Philippines, basketball, informal) A free throw.


Derived terms[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

  • "charity" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 54.