The Law Dictionary

Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.


Subjectively, the sentiment or motive of benevolence and philanthropy; the disposition to relieve the distressed. Objectively, alms-giving; acts of benevolence; relief, assistance, or services accorded to the needy without return. Also gifts for the promotion of philanthropic and humanitarian purposes. Jackson v. Phillips, 14 Allen (Mass.) 550; Vidal v. Gtrard, 2 How. 127, 11 L. Ed. 205; Historical Soc. v. Academy of Science, 94 Mo. 459, 8 S. W. 346. The meaning of the word “charity,” in its legal sense, is different from the signification which it ordinarily bears. In its legal sense, it includes not only gifts for the benefit of the poor, but endowments for the advancement of learning, or institutions for the encouragement of science and art. and. it is said, for any other useful and public purpose.

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