General English


  • noun money gained from a sale which is more than the money spent on making the item sold or on providing the service offered


  • Earnings from an on-going business after direct and project indirect costs of goods sold have been deducted from sales revenue for a given period (gross profit).
  • Earnings or income after subtracting miscellaneous income and expenses (patent royalties, interest, capital gains) and federal income tax from operating profit (net profit).
  • Earnings or income after all expenses (selling, administrative, depreciation) have been deducted from gross profit (operating profit).


  • The positive net income gained from investing or operating a business after deducting necessary costs. Most forex traders aim to make a profit from their currency dealing activities by buying low and selling high, although not all succeed in doing so.

Health Economics

  • (written as Profit)

    The economic concept of profit differs from the accounting concept by deducting from revenue not only the obvious costs of production but also the opportunity costs of owners' time (especially important in small businesses like nursing homes) and the opportunity cost of capital (effectively the rate of return that could be earned on the assets if they were invested in a risk-free asset like a government bond adjusted for the kind of risk of default common to firms of this size and type). Economic profit is always less than accounting profit. In a perfectly competitive economy, profits are zero when it is in equilibrium.

    The legitimate role of profit-seeking in health care provision has concerned health economists from the earliest days of the sub-discipline, both in order to understand better why the non-profit organization is so frequently found, even in market-oriented economies, and whether on balance and in what circumstances it can be counted as a good thing. Opinion amongst economists is unlikely, however, to reach a consensus, given the wider political connotations of the issue. The pioneering piece is Newhouse (1970).

Information & Library Science

  • noun the amount of money that somebody gains when they sell something for more than they paid for it


  • noun the right to take natural resources such as game, fish or firewood from another person’s land.


  • noun the money which results from a successful business

Origin & History of “profit”

like proficient, profit goes back to Latin prōficere ‘advance, be advantageous’. This was a compound verb formed from the prefix prō- ‘forward’ and facere ‘do, make’ (source of English fact, fashion, feat, etc). Its past participle prōfectus was used as a noun meaning ‘progress, success, profit’, and this passed into English via Old French profit. The Latin present participle prōficiēns ‘making progress’ is the source of English proficient (16th c.), which took its meaning on via ‘making progress in learning’ to ‘adept’.