1. generous in donations or gifts to relieve the needs of indigent, ill, or helpless persons, or of animals: a charitable man giving much money to feed the poor.
  2. kindly or lenient in judging people, acts, etc.: charitable in his opinions of others.
  3. pertaining to or concerned with charity: a charitable institution.


  1. generous in giving to the needy
  2. kind or lenient in one’s attitude towards others
  3. concerned with or involving charity

c.1200, in reference to the Christian virtue, from Old French charitable, from charité (see charity). Meaning “liberal in treatment of the poor” is from c.1400; that of “inclined to impute favorable motives to others” is from 1620s. Related: Charitableness; charitably.

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