late 14c., benefet, "good or noble deed; helpful or friendly action," also "a beneficial thing; advantage, profit," from Anglo-French benfet (Old French bienfait), from Latin benefactum "good deed," from bene facere, from bene "well" (see bene-) + facere "to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). Meaning "public performance or entertainment to raise money for some deserving unfortunate person or charitable cause" is from 1680s.
"do good to, be of service," late 15c., from benefit (n.). Related: Benefited; benefiting.
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