Definitions

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

  • n. An advantageous gain or return; benefit.
  • n. The return received on a business undertaking after all operating expenses have been met.
  • n. The return received on an investment after all charges have been paid. Often used in the plural.
  • n. The rate of increase in the net worth of a business enterprise in a given accounting period.
  • n. Income received from investments or property.
  • n. The amount received for a commodity or service in excess of the original cost.
  • intransitive v. To make a gain or profit.
  • intransitive v. To derive advantage; benefit: profiting from the other team's mistakes. See Synonyms at benefit.
  • transitive v. To be beneficial to.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Total income or cash flow minus expenditures. The money or other benefit a non-governmental organization or individual receives in exchange for products and services sold at an advertised price.
  • n. Benefit, positive result obtained.
  • n. In property law, a nonpossessory interest in land whereby a party is entitled to enter the land of another for the purpose of taking the soil or the substance of the soil (coal, oil, minerals, and in some jurisdictions timber and game).
  • v. To benefit (somebody), be of use to (somebody).
  • v. To benefit, gain.
  • v. To take advantage of, exploit, use.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Acquisition beyond expenditure; excess of value received for producing, keeping, or selling, over cost; hence, pecuniary gain in any transaction or occupation; emolument.
  • n. Accession of good; valuable results; useful consequences; benefit; avail; gain; as, an office of profit
  • transitive v. To be of service to; to be good to; to help on; to benefit; to advantage; to avail; to aid.
  • intransitive v. To gain advantage; to make improvement; to improve; to gain; to advance.
  • intransitive v. To be of use or advantage; to do or bring good.
  • intransitive v.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Advancement; improvement.
  • n. Any advantage; accession of good from labor or exertion; the acquisition of anything valuable, corporeal or intellectual, temporal or spiritual.
  • n. Specifically, the advantage or gain resulting to the owner of capital from its employment in any undertaking; the excess of the selling price over the original cost of anything; acquisition beyond expenditure; pecuniary gain in any action or occupation; gain; emolument: in commerce commonly used in the plural.
  • n. Synonyms Benefit, Utility, etc. (see advantage), service, welfare, behalf, behoof, weal, good.
  • n. Revenue, etc. (see income), return, avails.
  • To benefit; advantage; be of service to; help on; improve; advance.
  • To make improvement; improve; grow better; make progress, intellectually or morally: as, to profit by reading or by experience.
  • To gain in a material sense; become better off or richer: as, to profit by trade or manufactures.
  • To be of use or advantage; bring good.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make a profit; gain money or materially
  • n. the advantageous quality of being beneficial
  • v. derive a benefit from
  • n. the excess of revenues over outlays in a given period of time (including depreciation and other non-cash expenses)

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin prōfectus, from past participle of prōficere, make progress, to profit : prō-, forward; see pro-1 + facere, to make; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English profit, from Old French profit (French: profit)., from Latin profectus ("advance, progress, growth, increase, profit"), from proficere ("to go forward, advance, make progress, be profitable or useful"); see proficient. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Ford made a pre-tax profit* in each of its operating regions, but the news was especially encouraging in North America, where it recorded an operating profit of $1.2 billion, a $3.2 billion improvement from a year ago.

    Ford's Rebound Is For Real

  • It all boils down to ratings/commercial ad rates which - as is the case with the for-profit health industy - means profit$.

    Progressive Bloggers

  • If the state averages $100,000,000 in profit from the stores per year, what does it matter if it gets $100,000,000 from the stores or from a special sales tax on booze sold by private individuals that balances out to $100,000,000?

    Booze News « PubliCola

  • That would be an increase of 13.3% year-on-year for the second half and a 60% increase in profit from the first half to the second.

    Macquarie Sees Improving Conditions

  • Tax the oil companies 120 billion in profit is a joke when they don't spend anything for alternate energy

    Oklahoma Dem won't endorse Obama

  • Taking your hobby company to $100,000/year in profit is the same thing as holding 5% of a company that makes $2 million a year in profit.

    2007 July « The Paradigm Shift

  • In fact, the term profit does not seem to cover the cost of interest that will be paid by the government on the debt issued to fund this.

    Neil Grossman: The Bailout: Don't Believe Everything You Hear

  • A country whose postwar constitution officially subordinated free markets to social welfare is now rife with forms of hyper-exploitation in which hunger for short-term profit translates into extreme inequality and a deplorable degeneration in civil and social rights - witness

    The Guardian World News

  • A civilization which values -- and indeed consistently rewards -- aggression and reckless self-seeking rather than team work, ethical conduct, conciliation and compassion will end up despoiling the earth for short term profit, going to war for oil and economic dominance, creating an obscenely rich 1 percent at the expense of an increasingly impoverished 99 percent -- and, perhaps worst of all, it will produce unprecedented levels of human misery and spiritual unfulfillment.

    Richard Schiffman: Nice Guys Finish Last -- Or Do They?

  • And thus, it could be that shale gas will look, as an investment, like other alternative energy sources: it will be harder, take longer, and produce less short term profit.

    Dr. Philip Neches: Natural Gas Pains

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