from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Utility, advantage, or self-interest considered as the determinant of value or motivation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The principle that the ultimate initiator of an action is likely he who stands to gain from the action.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lit., for whose benefit; incorrectly understood, it came to be used in the sense, of what good or use; and hence, (what) purpose; object; specif., the ultimate object of life.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. For whose benefit? popularly, but incorrectly, for what use or end?


From Latin cui bonō (est), for whom (it is) of advantage : cui, dative of quī, who + bonō, dative of bonum, advantage.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin cui est bono? ("To whom is it a benefit?") (Wiktionary)


Sorry, no example sentences found.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Literally, "with benefit to whom" (Latin).

    February 28, 2014

  • JM contemplates his status update and the niggling phrase 'cui bono' keeps coming to mind

    February 1, 2010