Definition of profit in English:



  • 1A financial gain, especially the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent in buying, operating, or producing something.

    ‘pretax profits’
    ‘his eyes brightened at the prospect of profit’
    • ‘They are joint-stock organizations whose principal purpose is to maximize profits for their shareholders.’
    • ‘It might place a cap on prices if it seems that mobile phone operators are making huge profits at the expense of the customer.’
    • ‘In the same period, after-tax corporate profits rose by 41.2 per cent.’
    • ‘He said the company's second-quarter net profit was also pressured by lower earnings from its investments.’
    • ‘Pretax corporate profits rose by a total of 23.5 percent over the three years.’
    • ‘The author could then reap profits from the sales of his work in the territory concerned.’
    • ‘Chinese farmers hope to earn big profits selling fox pelts into the Russian and Chinese markets.’
    • ‘Industry special interests always have lobbyists pushing to maximize short-term profits at the expense of the environment.’
    • ‘Since most do not operate to earn profits, these enterprises do not pay dividends to shareholders.’
    • ‘Non-residents are only taxed on income or profits earned from Irish sources.’
    • ‘This is an application of profits already earned, not a cost in earning the profits.’
    • ‘Many people confuse the workings of capitalism that lead to lower costs and greater profits with free trade.’
    • ‘If their reversal generates excessive exchange rate movements they are able to earn large profits.’
    • ‘Jobs have been slashed, productivity has skyrocketed, and profits have soared.’
    • ‘By most accounts, foreign shrimp farms are earning reasonably healthy profits.’
    • ‘Margins are so thin that even modest growth will translate into a big percentage gain in profits.’
    • ‘Firms that operate in imperfectly competitive markets may earn economic profits.’
    • ‘After all, hardware gets faster, storage gets bigger, and profits soar higher.’
    • ‘While full-year pre-tax profits were flat at £600m, the company's recent performance warrants some optimism.’
    • ‘In return, community members were told, local people could reap far greater profits from sustainable sale of wool.’
    financial gain, gain, return, returns, payback, dividend, interest, yield, surplus, excess
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Advantage; benefit.
      ‘there's no profit in screaming at referees from the bench’
      advantage, benefit, value, use, gain, good, avail, worth, usefulness
      View synonyms


  • 1Obtain a financial advantage or benefit, especially from an investment.

    ‘the only people to profit from the entire episode were the lawyers’
    • ‘CEOs or other officers should not be allowed to profit from erroneous financial statements.’
    • ‘Throughout the 1990s workers' pay remained largely stagnant while company executives profited handsomely.’
    • ‘We don't profit from the lower borrowing costs.’
    • ‘As any freshman economics student could predict, the sellers - whom the government has targeted - will profit from the change.’
    • ‘The U.S. economy as a whole continues to profit from burgeoning agricultural exports.’
    • ‘Virtually everyone endeavors to profit from the insurance boom.’
    • ‘Protesters say such companies profit at the expense of poor countries.’
    • ‘There is an equal danger, however, that in rushing to profit from the business of online education, they could undermine the case for their own existence.’
    • ‘Financial spread betting allows investors to profit from falling as well as rising markets and investors can trade by telephone or online.’
    • ‘Khodorkovsky stands to profit handsomely from any sale.’
    • ‘Generally, the goal of the financial entrepreneur was to profit through growth and building enterprise value.’
    • ‘Special interests can profit from providing much of the campaign financing in return for programs that transfer wealth to them.’
    • ‘If you really want to stop it, you follow the trail of dollars and go after the money bosses who finance and profit from the ring.’
    • ‘The search for ways to profit from software is leading companies into niches all along the development, licensing, and distribution spectrum.’
    • ‘There is no suggestion that any British MPs profited personally or knew about the alleged corruption.’
    • ‘Long-time corporate sponsors from the defence, construction and petroleum industries will likewise profit enormously.’
    • ‘Despite assurances from major financial institutions that they would not seek to profit from the situation, there were growing concerns this morning that the Dow Jones would fall on opening.’
    • ‘Ironically, the king and his subjects profited financially from the trade as their kingdom crumbled beneath them.’
    • ‘Having missed out on the housing boom, I'd like to profit from the coming bust.’
    • ‘They exist to serve rather than to profit from people's financial needs or indeed to support what is ultimately unsustainable spending.’
    make money, make a killing, make a profit
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Obtain an advantage or benefit.
      ‘not all children would profit from this kind of schooling’
      • ‘Also, I think they could profit enormously from Amy Welborn's common sense perspective.’
      • ‘Raff became Liszt's musical assistant for six years, profiting greatly.’
      • ‘Particularly in the joint and coalition arenas, we can profit from the beneficial insight that historical analysis provides.’
      • ‘Membership in the human race is certainly questionable when one profits from this misery and degradation of others.’
      benefit from, take advantage of, obtain an advantage from, derive benefit from, reap the benefit of, capitalize on, make the most of, turn to one's advantage, put to good use, do well out of, utilize, exploit, make capital out of, maximize, gain from
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2with object Be beneficial to.
      ‘it would profit us to change our plans’
      • ‘‘But this is a very important project for our country, and it would profit everyone involved,’ he insists.’
      • ‘The rest of us, if we obey these laws as justice requires, are simply profiting the rulers.’
      • ‘Not only is it profitable for Living Earth but it is also profiting our environment.’
      • ‘Certain government departments are clearly using their control of government policy to profit themselves via nominated private business.’
      • ‘Results should profit and serve the profession and people for which they are intended.’
      • ‘Putting those outlets in fewer and bigger hands profits the few at the cost of the many.’
      benefit, be beneficial to, be of benefit to, be advantageous to, be of advantage to, be of use to, be of value to, do someone good, help, be helpful to, be of service to, serve, assist, aid, stand someone in good stead, further the interests of, advance, promote
      View synonyms


  • at a profit

    • Making more money than is spent buying, operating, or producing something.

      ‘fixing up houses and selling them at a profit’
      • ‘If you then sell it at a profit, the tax will also be advantageous.’
      • ‘By some accounts, that was just a reaction by investors who had anticipated the news, bought early and then sold at a profit.’
      • ‘They are doing this to avoid people buying the car as an investment, to sell at a profit while demand is high.’
      • ‘The management told us before Christmas that we were a little down on the projected budget in the three months to December but the company was still operating at a profit.’
      • ‘The pre-school is not a business, but a registered charity, unable to operate at a profit, forbidden to do so under laws governing charities.’
      • ‘It has the largest number of trains, stations, and long distance travellers, and it operates at a profit.’
      • ‘The multinationals only came to Britain to service the European market and if they can't sell at a profit, there's not a lot of point in them continuing to invest in Britain.’
      • ‘Brokers, analysts and fund managers around the world spend liberally on research to find hidden gems which they can scoop up cheaply and then sell at a profit.’
      • ‘The three are alleged to have sold oil rights at a profit.’
      • ‘This legislation sets the tax rates, and the tax rates are paid only when that business is operating at a profit.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘advantage, benefit’): from Old French, from Latin profectus ‘progress, profit’, from proficere ‘to advance’, from pro- ‘on behalf of’ + facere ‘do’. The verb is from Old French profiter.