Definition: Profit

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From Middle English profit, from Old French profit (Modern French profit), from Latin prōfectus (advance, progress, growth, increase, profit), from proficiō (to go forward, advance, make progress, be profitable or useful). Doublet of profect.


profit (countable and uncountable, plural profits)

  1. (accounting, economics) 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.

Usage notes

Regarding the income sense, when the difference is negative, the term loss is preferred. Negative profit does appear in microeconomics. Profit by a government agency is called a surplus.

Derived terms

  • for-profit
  • non-profit


profit (third-person singular simple present profits, present participle profiting, simple past and past participle profited)

  1. (transitive) To benefit (somebody), be of use to (somebody).
  2. (intransitive) To benefit, gain, usually used with "from."
  3. (intransitive) To take advantage of, exploit, use, usually used with "from."

Derived terms

  • for-profit
  • nonprofit
  • not-for-profit
  • paper profit
  • profitable
  • profiteer
  • profit margin
  • profit sharing


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