"one who confers a benefit, a kindly helper," especially "one who endows a charitable institution," mid-15c., from Late Latin benefactor, from Latin phrase bene facere, from bene "well" (see bene-) + facere "to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Translated in Old English as wel-doend. Also in 15c. benefetour, from Old French bienfaiteur.
updated on May 16, 2017