Definition of benign in US English:

benign

adjective

  • 1Gentle; kindly.

    ‘his benign but firm manner’
    ‘her face was calm and benign’
    • ‘And any benign thoughts my party may have harboured evaporated when our scheduled, relatively short sail took more than four hours to complete.’
    • ‘The village spirits are considered benign, helping people to have good and happy lives so long as proper rituals are observed.’
    • ‘At the moment, though, the normally benign Morris has fallen into a stern mood.’
    • ‘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 remember very well having the extraordinary sense that this place was very special - a benign and benevolent land.’
    • ‘She was so gentle and benign, but worked so cleverly with people.’
    • ‘However benign her motives, though, she should have been stopped.’
    • ‘Visually, the show is a treat, and the tone is mostly benign and gentle.’
    • ‘I believe the balance sheet of Australian history is a very generous and benign one.’
    • ‘The mating game we were witnessing in the penguin colony was gentle and benign by comparison.’
    • ‘He had a warm, benign nature and offered himself to you as a friend and ally.’
    • ‘His eyes twinkle in that benign manner that makes me feel like I'm at a candy shop, talking to the old shop keeper.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At home, his bond with his stepfather contributed to his benign and affectionate feelings toward men.’
    • ‘She was a benign, kind and gentle lady whom Julia had admired, respected and adored greatly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What makes an otherwise gentle and benign guy like him speak so callously and cruelly of 950 deaths?’
    • ‘It shows a benign countenance, the face of a genial, gentle man.’
    • ‘The bookworm, Benjamin noted, was a gentle creature, a benign agent of history.’
    • ‘The open eye, which had been fairly benign and friendly up until then, narrowed slightly into a bit of a glare.’
    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
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a climate or environment) mild and favorable.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We are used to really quite benign weather patterns.’
      • ‘When confronted by a stress, a mobile organism can seek refuge in physically benign microhabitats or abandon the area entirely.’
      • ‘In persistently windy areas consider planting a windbreak to create a more benign climate for your garden.’
      • ‘If sown now these will be ready for transplanting at the end of March when the climate is more benign.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I thought permaculture was about creating synergy between plants so that you develop a little benign ecosystem in your backyard.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even seemingly benign weather will heat up a roof.’
      • ‘It is said that due to its benign climate, the best tenors have always come from Italy.’
      • ‘Durban has the most benign tropical climate in Africa.’
      • ‘Breakoffs and override have occurred without warning, under locally benign weather conditions.’
      • ‘The winter freeze and spring thaw climatic conditions are also not typical of Australia's relatively benign climate.’
      • ‘The region's benign climate, chalky terrain and spectacular summer light is a wine-maker's dream.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jersey's benign climate and free-draining sandy soil provide the ideal environment for over 80 species of lavender.’
      • ‘We often work in a benign weather environment, but we always should be prepared to handle weather contingencies.’
      • ‘Then in the Holocene we had a period of benign climatic stability.’
      • ‘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.’
      temperate, mild, gentle, clement, calm, balmy, pleasant, agreeable, soft, soothing, refreshing
      favourable, advantageous, beneficial
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Not harmful to the environment.
      in combination ‘an ozone-benign refrigerant’
  • 2Medicine
    (of a disease) not harmful in effect: in particular, (of a tumor) not malignant.

    • ‘Infections are typically benign, asymptomatic, and lifelong.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Because the syndrome is benign most individuals do not even know they carry a hemoglobin abnormality.’
    • ‘The disease seems to be benign in chimpanzees, too.’
    • ‘As it turned out, subsequent events proved that the suspected cancer was benign.’
    • ‘The specimens for histologic diagnoses in these groups were obtained by hysterectomies performed to treat other benign diseases.’
    • ‘‘But it is generally quite a benign condition, which is easily managed and treated,’ Dr Pye said.’
    • ‘Each year scores of different respiratory viruses cause a mostly benign illness, which cannot be distinguished clinically by causal agent.’
    • ‘Uncomplicated infections are generally benign but, if not treated, can interfere with daily life.’
    • ‘Patients with prostate cancer tend to have lower free-total ratios than do patients with benign disease.’
    • ‘In actual fact, for the vast majority of cases, the childhood infectious diseases are benign and self-limiting.’
    • ‘Asthma in young children is no longer considered a benign disease, since it often presents with acute exacerbations.’
    • ‘Fever may be a marker of sepsis, localized infection, occult bacteremia, or benign illness.’
    • ‘Accordingly, SARS-associated coronavirus may not change rapidly into a benign infection.’
    • ‘Her past medical history was significant only for an abdominal hysterectomy performed more than 10 years earlier for benign disease.’
    • ‘It is difficult to distinguish premalignant lesions from more common benign inflammatory conditions in the general population.’
    • ‘Polymyalgia is not a benign disease, but correctly treated it can be controlled.’
    • ‘Levels exceeding 10 ng per mL are rarely due to benign disease.’
    • ‘Following up the placebo arm of a randomised trial can be a good way of tracking the course of benign diseases.’
    • ‘Isolated atrial and ventricular ectopic beats in pregnant women without existing heart disease are usually benign.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French benigne, from Latin benignus, probably from bene ‘well’ + -genus ‘-born’. Compare with gentle.

Pronunciation

benign

/bəˈnīn//bəˈnaɪn/