From Latin beneficiarius (enjoying a favor, granted a privilege) from beneficium (benefit), perhaps via or influenced by French bénéficiaire (beneficiary). Indirectly, by way of the etymology of the Latin word beneficium, the English word beneficiary ultimately has the same origin as the English word benefactor, its near antonym.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌbɛn.ɪˈfɪʃ.əɹ.i/, /ˌbɛn.əˈfɪʃ.əɹ.i/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌbɛn.ɨˈfɪʃ.ɚ.i/, /bɛn.əˈfɪʃ.iˌɚ.i/
  • (file)


beneficiary (plural beneficiaries)

  1. One who benefits or receives an advantage.
    You are the lucky beneficiary of this special offer.
    • 2012 September 7, Dominic Fifield, “England start World Cup campaign with five-goal romp against Moldova”, in The Guardian[1]:
      The most obvious beneficiary of the visitors' superiority was Frank Lampard. By the end of the night he was perched 13th in the list of England's most prolific goalscorers, having leapfrogged Sir Geoff Hurst to score his 24th and 25th international goals. No other player has managed more than the Chelsea midfielder's 11 in World Cup qualification ties, with this a display to roll back the years.
  2. (law) One who benefits from the distribution, especially out of a trust or estate.
    If any beneficiary does not survive the Settlor for a period of 30 days then the Trustee shall distribute that beneficiary’s share to the surviving beneficiaries by right of representation.
  3. (insurance) One who benefits from the payout of an insurance policy.


Related termsEdit



beneficiary (not comparable)

  1. Holding some office or valuable possession, in subordination to another; holding under a feudal or other superior; having a dependent and secondary possession.
    • a. 1627 (date written), Francis [Bacon], “Considerations Touching a VVarre vvith Spaine. []”, in William Rawley, editor, Certaine Miscellany VVorks of the Right Honourable Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount S. Alban. [], London: [] I. Hauiland for Humphrey Robinson, [], published 1629, →OCLC:
      a feudatory or beneficiary king of England
  2. Bestowed as a gratuity.
    beneficiary gifts

Further readingEdit