What does benign mean?

Definitions for benign

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word benign.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. benignadjective

    not dangerous to health; not recurrent or progressive (especially of a tumor)

  2. benign, benignantadjective

    pleasant and beneficial in nature or influence

    "a benign smile"; "the benign sky"; "the benign influence of pure air"

  3. benignadjective

    kindness of disposition or manner

    "the benign ruler of millions"; "benign intentions"


  1. benignadjective

    Not posing any serious threat to health; not particularly aggressive or recurrent.

  2. benignadjective

    Kind; gentle; mild.

  3. Etymology: Via French from benignus, from bonus + genus. Compare malign.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. BENIGNadjective

    Etymology: benignus, Lat.

    This turn hath made amends! Thou hast fulfill’d
    Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign!
    Giver of all things fair. John Milton, Parad. Lost, b. viii. l. 492.

    So shall the world go on,
    To good malignant, to bad men benign. Par. Lost, b. xii.

    We owe more to heav’n than to the sword,
    The wish’d return of so benign a lord. Edmund Waller.

    What heaven bestows upon the earth, in kind influences and benign aspects, is paid it back again in sacrifice and adoration. South.

    They who delight in the suffering of inferiour creatures, will not be very compassionate or benign. John Locke.

    Diff’rent are thy names,
    As thy kind hand has founded many cities,
    Or dealt benign thy various gifts to men. Matthew Prior.

    These salts are of a benign mild nature, in healthy persons; but, in others, retain their original qualities, which they discover in cachexies. John Arbuthnot, on Aliments.


  1. benign

    Malignancy (from Latin male 'badly', and -gnus 'born') is the tendency of a medical condition to become progressively worse. Malignancy is most familiar as a characterization of cancer. A malignant tumor contrasts with a non-cancerous benign tumor in that a malignancy is not self-limited in its growth, is capable of invading into adjacent tissues, and may be capable of spreading to distant tissues. A benign tumor has none of those properties. Malignancy in cancers is characterized by anaplasia, invasiveness, and metastasis. Malignant tumors are also characterized by genome instability, so that cancers, as assessed by whole genome sequencing, frequently have between 10,000 and 100,000 mutations in their entire genomes. Cancers usually show tumour heterogeneity, containing multiple subclones. They also frequently have reduced expression of DNA repair enzymes due to epigenetic methylation of DNA repair genes or altered microRNAs that control DNA repair gene expression. Tumours can be detected through the visualisation or sensation of a lump on the body. In cases where there is no obvious representation of a lump, a mammogram or an MRI test can be used to determine the presence of a tumour. In the case of an existing tumour, a biopsy would be then required to make a diagnosis as this detects if the tumour is malignant or benign. This involves examination of a small sample of the tissue in a laboratory. If detected as a malignant tumour, treatment would be necessary. Treatment during early stages is most effective. Forms of treatment include chemotherapy, surgery, photoradiation and hyperthermia, amongst various others.


  1. benign

    Benign refers to something that is not harmful, dangerous, or malignant. It is often used in medical context to describe tumors or growths that are not cancerous and do not pose a threat to health. In general usage, it may also refer to a gentle or kind disposition or character.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Benignadjective

    of a kind or gentle disposition; gracious; generous; favorable; benignant

  2. Benignadjective

    exhibiting or manifesting kindness, gentleness, favor, etc.; mild; kindly; salutary; wholesome

  3. Benignadjective

    of a mild type or character; as, a benign disease

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Benign

    ben-īn′, adj. favourable, esp. in astrology, as opposed to malign: gracious: kindly: (med.) of a mild type, as opposed to malignant: salubrious.—n. Benig′nancy, benignant quality.—adj. Benig′nant, kind: gracious: beneficial.—adv. Benig′nantly.—n. Benig′nity, goodness of disposition: kindness: graciousness: favourable circumstances—of climate, weather, disease, planets.—adv. Benign′ly. [O. Fr. benigne—L. benignus, for benigenus; bene, well, genus, born.]

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of benign in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of benign in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of benign in a Sentence

  1. Erika Jones:

    Skeptical of their doctors ’ diagnosis, the Florida couple traveled to Boston Children's Hospital, where neurosurgeon-in-chief Alan Cohen evaluated the little girl. He ended up operating on Abigail and removing the tumor, which he said was benign. When Dr. Cohen came out of surgery saying we got it all, and we're pretty, pretty, pretty sure that it’s not malignant, it's not cancer, it was almost like she was born again.

  2. Colin Kilrain:

    So it's somewhat benign and it's not necessarily classic military-type training.

  3. Esther Freeman:

    Most of the patients were young, healthy and had a benign clinical course, i dont want people to think if they are having purple spots on their toes that they are going to end up on a ventilator in the ICU. That is not what we are seeing in the data.

  4. Debra Suierveld:

    Debra Suierveld said about her daughter. Days before, about 10 miles away from the Suierveld home, George Speiring said he opened the door to his home and spotted a lab mix on his porch. He said he called police and the dog, which turned out to be Abby, eventually ended up at the animal shelter. The animal shelter then found the chip that connected Abby to her rightful owner. Abby looked almost like she never left home, aside from graying hair and a benign tumor. Her teeth are in good shape, her paws are in good shape, somebody took very good care of her.

  5. Abdullah Shatnawei:

    The majority of cases [of bloating] are benign and nothing to worry about, but there is a chance that this may be signaling an underlying problem.

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"benign." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/benign>.

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