Char"i*ty (?), n.; pl. Charities (#). [F. charit'e fr. L. caritas dearness, high regard, love, from carus dear, costly, loved; asin to Skr. kam to wish, love, cf. Ir. cara a friend, W. caru to love. Cf. Caress.]
Love; universal benevolence; good will.
Now abideth faith, hope, charity, three; but the greatest of these is charity.
1. Cor. xiii. 13.
They, at least, are little to be envied, in whose hearts the great charities . . . lie dead.
With malice towards none, with charity for all.
Liberality in judging of men and their actions; a disposition which inclines men to put the best construction on the words and actions of others.
The highest exercise of charity is charity towards the uncharitable.
Liberality to the poor and the suffering, to benevolent institutions, or to worthy causes; generosity.
The heathen poet, in commending the charity of Dido to the Trojans, spake like a Christian.
Whatever is bestowed gratuitously on the needy or suffering for their relief; alms; any act of kindness.
She did ill then to refuse her a charity.
A charitable institution, or a gift to create and support such an institution; as, Lady Margaret's charity.
6. pl. Law
Eleemosynary appointments [grants or devises] including relief of the poor or friendless, education, religious culture, and public institutions.
The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless,
Are scattered at the feet of man like flowers.
Sisters of Charity R. C. Ch., a sisterhood of religious women engaged in works of mercy, esp. in nursing the sick; -- a popular designation. There are various orders of the Sisters of Charity.
Syn. -- Love; benevolence; good will; affection; tenderness; beneficence; liberality; almsgiving.
© Webster 1913.