) KEY NOUN: pl. char·i·ties
- Provision of help or relief to the poor; almsgiving.
- Something given to help the needy; alms.
- An institution, organization, or fund established to help the needy.
- Benevolence or generosity toward others or toward humanity.
- Indulgence or forbearance in judging others. See Synonyms at mercy.
- often Charity Christianity The theological virtue defined as love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one's neighbors as objects of God's love.
Middle English charite
, from Old French, Christian love
, from Latin crits
, from crus
; see k-
in Indo-European roots