Definition of welfare in US English:



  • 1The health, happiness, and fortunes of a person or group.

    ‘they don't give a damn about the welfare of their families’
    • ‘It's total disregard for the financial and emotional welfare of everyone involved.’
    • ‘The confidentiality was agreed to protect the interests and welfare of the student.’
    • ‘It is your programme in writing for managing health, safety and welfare within your business.’
    • ‘Their help and support over the past few months have made an immense difference to the welfare and happiness of our family.’
    • ‘He said that the health, safety and welfare of officers was always of concern.’
    • ‘He was found guilty of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of his employees.’
    • ‘The agency said the decision was taken to ensure the children's safety and welfare.’
    • ‘He has not been heard from since, and there are grave concerns for his safety and welfare.’
    • ‘After a month or so a programme of home visits begins, and enquiries are made about the health and general welfare of each family.’
    • ‘This type of cost cutting threatens the health and welfare of local residents.’
    • ‘We have been let down by people who should have been looking after Laura's health and welfare and we are all devastated.’
    • ‘Tributes are being paid to a North Yorkshire woman who was devoted to the protection and welfare of cats.’
    • ‘However, housing some birds would not be in their interest where health and welfare is concerned.’
    • ‘Provision for the pupils' care, health, safety and welfare is very good.’
    • ‘Its bosses say they are looking to reduce sugar and fat for the health and welfare of us all.’
    • ‘All or most states already have laws to protect the health and welfare of animals.’
    • ‘Our paramount concerns are for his and other patient's welfare and safety.’
    • ‘They should not only care for the welfare of the children, but should also have financial knowledge.’
    • ‘He had no thought but for me, my welfare, my comfort, my safety, my happiness.’
    • ‘If you are interested in animal welfare there are two young dogs urgently in need of homes.’
    • ‘We need to ensure that no one has to put the health and welfare of his or her family at risk in order to keep a job.’
    • ‘There's an interesting conference about animal welfare going on somewhere at the moment.’
    well-being, health, good health, happiness, comfort, security, safety, protection, prosperity, profit, good, success, fortune, good fortune, advantage, interest, prosperousness, successfulness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need.
      ‘the protection of rights to education, housing, and welfare’
      • ‘Workers remembered the privatisations, sackings, and attacks on social security and welfare.’
      • ‘Health spending, welfare and aged care benefits are seen as the main culprits.’
      • ‘In part, this reflects the fact that such groups are benefiting from welfare privatisation.’
      • ‘Statutory welfare agencies have also used the threat of criminalization to secure compliance to new social norms.’
      • ‘They also tend to spend more time on study and meditation and less on social affairs and community welfare programmes.’
      • ‘In the six years since Labour came to power we have seen our public services and welfare system eroded almost into extinction.’
      • ‘They want more spent on education, health and welfare and they want it now.’
      • ‘Firstly immigrants and refugees are not a drain on the NHS and the social welfare services.’
      • ‘On public sector privatisation and cuts in welfare benefits, Labour and the Tories are united.’
      • ‘In this argument charity is private benevolence and social welfare is public.’
      • ‘Social welfare service employees and municipal inspectors are also on strike.’
      • ‘Political involvement was the foundation of all social welfare and public service.’
      • ‘Social welfare, designed to fill the gap where the family can no longer provide, hardly exists.’
      • ‘Mr. Rector has advocated devoting much more federal welfare money for promoting marriage.’
      • ‘I am proud of our social welfare system and the safety net it provides for those who need it.’
      • ‘To be sure, every increase in wages and social welfare measures boosts demand.’
      • ‘The youth criminal justice system is expanding into areas that child welfare services would once have intervened in.’
    2. 1.2North American Financial support given to people in need.
      • ‘The workers are demanding an expansion and prompt payment of welfare benefits to the unemployed.’
      • ‘Dependency on welfare was growing and approaching the peak it would reach in 1995.’
      • ‘Welfare benefits are being reduced and new provisions introduced to restrict access to welfare.’
      • ‘A decade ago, some Chumash still relied on welfare and donated clothing.’
      • ‘First, cuts in welfare and other social programs have reduced government health insurance.’
      • ‘The Government wants to keep putting up taxes in order to support its welfare expenditure.’
      • ‘We must look behind these numbers to see if how families fare after leaving welfare.’
      • ‘The implications for long-term funding of welfare and pensions is profound.’
      • ‘What got me back was that I was on food stamps and welfare and I had a family to support.’
      • ‘We know that real jobs are a better guarantee of prosperity for the unemployed than welfare.’
      • ‘America, rightly or wrongly, spends a great deal on welfare.’
      social security, benefit, state benefit, benefit payment, public assistance
      View synonyms


  • on welfare

    • Receiving government financial assistance for basic material needs.

      • ‘Which author has sold millions of books but was actually on welfare for about a year while writing her first one?’
      • ‘I'm going places, while they'll stay on welfare and junk like that their whole lives.’
      • ‘It's easy to criticize people on welfare when you haven't been in their shoes.’
      • ‘One was on welfare living off the dole, but I think that two of them had jobs, wives, and small children.’
      • ‘Elisa cut off financial support, prompting Emily and her children to go on welfare.’
      • ‘When I was growing up my family was on welfare, so I have a strong sense of welfare-class consciousness.’
      • ‘In April, single parents on welfare were hit with a $51 cut to their support allowance.’
      • ‘Before then, I lived with my mother, who was single and on welfare at the time.’
      • ‘Relatively low levels of the community are therefore on welfare and public assistance.’
      • ‘The dumb broads in the corner reading bridal magazines are now bingo hall cashiers who envy their girlfriends on welfare.’
      • ‘Born into an Italian family living in a South Bronx ghetto, Zimbardo grew up poor and on welfare.’
      • ‘The social worker at the hospital put me on welfare and got together an application for disability.’
      • ‘We were on welfare and so she was gone a lot and I kind of feel like I raised Ashley.’
      • ‘Angela has been on welfare most of her adult life, and she has never been able to make ends meet.’
      • ‘People on welfare do not save money, they spend everything they get.’
      • ‘However, the financial cost to leaders of support groups is often substantial, given that many are on welfare.’
      • ‘Yet these kids came from poor homes, often broken homes, and many were on welfare.’


Middle English: from the adverb well + the verb fare.