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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ A benefice consisting of six parishes can commonly have five patrons who all have views on their incumbent.
▪ As they progressed in the king's confidence and service, their benefices became more numerous and more lucrative.
▪ He also promised to promote her son, then studying at Cambridge, to appropriate benefices and to make other benefactions.
▪ In March 1403 his numerous benefices were reckoned to be worth over £800 a year.
▪ Lothar remained grateful to him, praising his knowledge and, as pope, conferring benefices on him.
▪ Some were imposed by monasteries on benefices of which they were the patrons, sometimes as a half way stage to appropriation.
▪ Then dreams he of another benefice.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Benefice \Ben"e*fice\, n. [F. b['e]n['e]fice, 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.]

  2. (Feudal Law) An estate in lands; a fief.

    Note: 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.

    Note: 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.


Benefice \Ben"e*fice\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Beneficed.] To endow with a benefice.

Note: [Commonly in the past participle.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1300, "a church living," from Old French benefice (13c.) and directly from Latin beneficium "a favor, service, generosity, kindness, benefit," from beneficus "generous, kind, benevolent, obliging," from bene- "good, well" (see bene-) + -ficus, from stem of -ficere, unstressed form of facere "to do, to make" (see factitious).


n. 1 Land granted to a priest in a church that has a source of income attached to it. 2 (context obsolete English) A favour or benefit. 3 (context feudal law English) An estate in lands; a fief. vb. To bestow a #Noun upon


n. an endowed church office giving income to its holder [syn: ecclesiastical benefice]


v. endow with a benefice


A benefice is a reward received in exchange for services rendered and as a retainer for future services. The Roman Empire used the Latin term beneficium as a benefit to an individual from the Empire for services rendered. Its use was adopted by the western church in the Carolingian Era as a benefit bestowed by the crown or church officials. A benefice specifically from a church is called a precaria (pl. precarii) such as a stipend and one from a monarch or nobleman is usually called a fief. A benefice is distinct from an allod, in that an allod is property owned outright, not bestowed by a higher authority.

Usage examples of "benefice".

He publicly chastised the cardinals for absenteeism, luxury, and lascivious life, forbade them to hold or sell plural benefices, prohibited their acceptance of pensions, gifts of money, and other favors from secular sources, ordered the papal treasurer not to pay them their customary half of the revenue from benefices but to use it for the restoration of churches in Rome.

The first twelve articles are devoted to the pope, the annates, the appointment of foreigners to German benefices, the appeal of cases to Rome, the asserted authority of the papacy over bishops, the emperor, and other rulers.

They gave him a right to all the annates and tithes of benefices which had formerly been paid to the court of Rome.

Sauci, the ecclesiastical commissioner, begging him to give my brother an introduction to the Archbishop of Paris, who might give him something that might lead to his obtaining a good benefice.

Junior, or Modernus, a canonist who lived in the middle of the thirteenth century, called Compostellanus from the fact that he possessed an ecclesiastical benefice in Compostella.

Chancellor of the kingdom, Messire Regnault de Chartres, Archbishop of Reims, eagerly desired his restoration to the see of the Blessed Saint Remi and the enjoyment of his benefices.

With reference to the lands attached to bishoprics the chancellor of the exchequer laid down this principle, namely, that if by the act of parliament to be introduced any new value was given to benefices, that new value not belonging properly to the church might be appropriated to the exigencies of the state.

As long as the emperors retained the prerogative of bestowing on every vacancy these ecclesiastic and secular benefices, their cause was maintained by the gratitude or ambition of their friends and favorites.

During this reign, the statute of provisors was enacted, rendering it penal to procure any presentations to benefices from the court of Rome, and securing the rights of all patrons and electors, which had been extremely encroached on by the pope.

He last year obtained in competition the benefice of Santo Thomas, which is an allotment of Tagal Indians, as he knows their language very well.

The see of Canterbury under the new primate was to win back all lands and privileges lost during the civil wars, at whatever cost to the interests of the whole court party, of barons who found their rights to Church appointments and Church lands questioned, and of clerks of the royal household who trembled for their posts and benefices.

What could be expected when covetous patrons canceled their debts to their servants by bestowing advowsons of benefices upon their bakers, butlers, cooks, grooms, pages, and lackeys--when even in the universities there was cheating at elections for scholarships and fellowships, and gifts were for sale!

DE WELEWYCK, styled Clericus, succeeded in 1296 on the resignation of Paganus and was the last rector, the benefice having in his time been reduced to a vicarage by the appropriation of the rectorial-house, tithes, and glebe to the College of St.

Whatever benefices you have received, such as the abbacy, would certainly be revoked.

Sauci, the ecclesiastical commissioner, begging him to give my brother an introduction to the Archbishop of Paris, who might give him something that might lead to his obtaining a good benefice.