Reference Entry

benign

Edited by Jeremy Butterfield

in Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage

Fourth edition

Published in print January 2015 | ISBN: 9780199661350
Published online June 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191744532
benign

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Benign was adopted from French in the 14c., and is by far the more usual of the two. It is used principally in the medical sense of not life-threatening (e.g. a tumour), also to mean ‘gracious, kindly’ and ‘exhibiting kindly feeling in look, gesture, or action’; and especially in transferred use of anything considered to be propitious (e.g. the aspects of the planets), or salubrious (e.g. the weather, the air). ...

Reference Entry.  132 words. 

Subjects: Language Reference

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