Reference Entry


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

Show Summary Details


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

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or login to access all content.