Ben"e*fice (?), n. [F. b'en'efice, L. beneficium, a kindness , in LL. a grant of an estate, fr. L. beneficus beneficent; bene well + facere to do. See Benefit.]

1.

A favor or benefit.

[Obs.]

Baxter.

2. Feudal Law

An estate in lands; a fief.

⇒ Such an estate was granted at first for life only, and held on the mere good pleasure of the donor; but afterward, becoming hereditary, it received the appellation of fief, and the term benefice became appropriated to church livings.

3.

An ecclesiastical living and church preferment, as in the Church of England; a church endowed with a revenue for the maintenance of divine service. See Advowson.

⇒ All church preferments are called benefices, except bishoprics, which are called dignities. But, ordinarily, the term dignity is applied to bishoprics, deaneries, archdeaconries, and prebendaryships; benefice to parsonages, vicarages, and donatives.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ben"e*fice, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Beneficed.]

To endow with a benefice.

[Commonly in the past participle.]

 

© Webster 1913.

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