Definition of benign in English:



  • 1Gentle and kind.

    ‘his benign but firm manner’
    • ‘The bookworm, Benjamin noted, was a gentle creature, a benign agent of history.’
    • ‘It shows a benign countenance, the face of a genial, gentle man.’
    • ‘She was so gentle and benign, but worked so cleverly with people.’
    • ‘She was a benign, kind and gentle lady whom Julia had admired, respected and adored greatly.’
    • ‘Visually, the show is a treat, and the tone is mostly benign and gentle.’
    • ‘He had a warm, benign nature and offered himself to you as a friend and ally.’
    • ‘At home, his bond with his stepfather contributed to his benign and affectionate feelings toward men.’
    • ‘I remember very well having the extraordinary sense that this place was very special - a benign and benevolent land.’
    • ‘His eyes twinkle in that benign manner that makes me feel like I'm at a candy shop, talking to the old shop keeper.’
    • ‘The village spirits are considered benign, helping people to have good and happy lives so long as proper rituals are observed.’
    • ‘The mating game we were witnessing in the penguin colony was gentle and benign by comparison.’
    • ‘The open eye, which had been fairly benign and friendly up until then, narrowed slightly into a bit of a glare.’
    • ‘The owner is front of house and seems permanently genial and benign as we all might be if we lived, as he, his wife and children do, in such a mood-improving environment.’
    • ‘I believe the balance sheet of Australian history is a very generous and benign one.’
    • ‘He relaxed his pace, removed the look of appraisal and curious scrutiny from his face and replaced it with one of nonchalant friendliness and benign interest.’
    • ‘At the moment, though, the normally benign Morris has fallen into a stern mood.’
    • ‘However benign her motives, though, she should have been stopped.’
    • ‘What makes an otherwise gentle and benign guy like him speak so callously and cruelly of 950 deaths?’
    • ‘And any benign thoughts my party may have harboured evaporated when our scheduled, relatively short sail took more than four hours to complete.’
    • ‘So I suppose the only point I am making is that the reader should not, in my opinion, mistake this kindly and benign country for the real thing.’
    kindly, kind, warm-hearted, good-natured, friendly, warm, affectionate, agreeable, amiable, good-humoured, genial, congenial, cordial, approachable, tender, tender-hearted, soft-hearted, gentle, sympathetic, compassionate, caring, considerate, thoughtful, helpful, well disposed, obliging, accommodating, generous, big-hearted, unselfish, benevolent, gracious, liberal, indulgent
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    1. 1.1(of a climate or environment) mild and favourable.
      ‘the climate becomes more benign as we move nearer to the Black Sea’
      • ‘Land that is close to major cities, has good views, is close to water and has a benign climate, attracts migrants from the urban areas.’
      • ‘In persistently windy areas consider planting a windbreak to create a more benign climate for your garden.’
      • ‘The opposite is true for most Australian wine production, where a benign climate and massive hydroponic systems deliver grapes that are almost identical from one year to the next.’
      • ‘On a summer's day Ben Nevis appears to be a benign environment, with a track leading to the summit used by around 70,000 walkers a year.’
      • ‘We often work in a benign weather environment, but we always should be prepared to handle weather contingencies.’
      • ‘Only 2 percent of the globe enjoys this benign weather pattern, envied by the rest of the world, where warm, dry summers follow mild, wet winters.’
      • ‘Then in the Holocene we had a period of benign climatic stability.’
      • ‘It is said that due to its benign climate, the best tenors have always come from Italy.’
      • ‘The winter freeze and spring thaw climatic conditions are also not typical of Australia's relatively benign climate.’
      • ‘Jersey's benign climate and free-draining sandy soil provide the ideal environment for over 80 species of lavender.’
      • ‘When confronted by a stress, a mobile organism can seek refuge in physically benign microhabitats or abandon the area entirely.’
      • ‘I thought permaculture was about creating synergy between plants so that you develop a little benign ecosystem in your backyard.’
      • ‘That allows us to be a major, efficient agricultural producer, and the key factor is the relatively benign climate that we enjoy in our temperate region.’
      • ‘If sown now these will be ready for transplanting at the end of March when the climate is more benign.’
      • ‘We are used to really quite benign weather patterns.’
      • ‘Even seemingly benign weather will heat up a roof.’
      • ‘Durban has the most benign tropical climate in Africa.’
      • ‘The northeast of Tasmania is often noted for its relatively benign climate, and certainly receives much less rain than the western half of the island State.’
      • ‘The region's benign climate, chalky terrain and spectacular summer light is a wine-maker's dream.’
      • ‘Breakoffs and override have occurred without warning, under locally benign weather conditions.’
      temperate, mild, gentle, clement, calm, balmy, pleasant, agreeable, soft, soothing, refreshing
      favourable, advantageous, beneficial
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    2. 1.2Not harmful to the environment.
      ‘the cycle as a benign form of transport’
      [in combination] ‘an ozone-benign refrigerant’
  • 2Medicine
    (of a disease) not harmful in effect.

    ‘a benign condition’
    • ‘Her past medical history was significant only for an abdominal hysterectomy performed more than 10 years earlier for benign disease.’
    • ‘Fever may be a marker of sepsis, localized infection, occult bacteremia, or benign illness.’
    • ‘Asthma in young children is no longer considered a benign disease, since it often presents with acute exacerbations.’
    • ‘Isolated atrial and ventricular ectopic beats in pregnant women without existing heart disease are usually benign.’
    • ‘Following up the placebo arm of a randomised trial can be a good way of tracking the course of benign diseases.’
    • ‘Because the syndrome is benign most individuals do not even know they carry a hemoglobin abnormality.’
    • ‘Patients with prostate cancer tend to have lower free-total ratios than do patients with benign disease.’
    • ‘Accordingly, SARS-associated coronavirus may not change rapidly into a benign infection.’
    • ‘‘But it is generally quite a benign condition, which is easily managed and treated,’ Dr Pye said.’
    • ‘Levels exceeding 10 ng per mL are rarely due to benign disease.’
    • ‘In actual fact, for the vast majority of cases, the childhood infectious diseases are benign and self-limiting.’
    • ‘They've been inserting bits of it into other strains of flu that wouldn't normally kill mice, and seeing whether the changes make that benign flu more lethal.’
    • ‘Each year scores of different respiratory viruses cause a mostly benign illness, which cannot be distinguished clinically by causal agent.’
    • ‘It is difficult to distinguish premalignant lesions from more common benign inflammatory conditions in the general population.’
    • ‘Infections are typically benign, asymptomatic, and lifelong.’
    • ‘As it turned out, subsequent events proved that the suspected cancer was benign.’
    • ‘Polymyalgia is not a benign disease, but correctly treated it can be controlled.’
    • ‘Uncomplicated infections are generally benign but, if not treated, can interfere with daily life.’
    • ‘The disease seems to be benign in chimpanzees, too.’
    • ‘The specimens for histologic diagnoses in these groups were obtained by hysterectomies performed to treat other benign diseases.’
    1. 2.1(of a tumour) not malignant.
      ‘benign growths’
      • ‘A more sinister consequence of prolonged sun exposure is the greatly increased incidence of both benign and malignant tumours.’
      • ‘Pleomorphic adenoma is a benign neoplasm that occurs in major or minor salivary glands.’
      • ‘In the brain, both malignant and benign tumours can be harmful because they increase pressure in the skull.’
      • ‘It is currently believed that most colorectal carcinomas start as benign adenomas that undergo malignant transformation into adenocarcinoma.’
      • ‘The difference between malignant and benign tumours is that malignant tumours have the ability to invade surrounding areas.’
      harmless, non-malignant, non-cancerous, non-dangerous, innocent
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Middle English: from Old French benigne, from Latin benignus, probably from bene well + -genus -born. Compare with gentle.