1) ADJ-GRADED: usu ADJ n You use benign to describe someone who is kind, gentle, and harmless.

They are normally a more benign audience...

Critics of the scheme take a less benign view.

Derived words:
benignly ADV-GRADED usu ADV with v

I just smiled benignly and stood back.

2) ADJ-GRADED: usu ADJ n A benign substance or process does not have any harmful effects.

We're taking relatively benign medicines and we're turning them into poisons.

3) ADJ: usu ADJ n A benign tumour will not cause death or serious harm. [MEDICAL]

It wasn't cancer, only a benign tumour.

4) ADJ-GRADED: usu ADJ n Benign conditions are pleasant or make it easy for something to happen.

They enjoyed an especially benign climate...

This plunge came in a time of relatively benign economic conditions.

5) PHRASE (disapproval) If you describe someone's approach to a problem as one of benign neglect, you disapprove of the fact that they are doing nothing and hoping that the problem will solve itself.

America and Japan have settled back into a policy of benign neglect of their currencies.

English dictionary. 2008.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • benign — BENÍGN, Ă, benigni, e, adj. (Despre boli) Lipsit de gravitate; uşor. – Din lat. benignus, fr. bénin, igne. Trimis de paula, 02.06.2002. Sursa: DEX 98  Benign ≠ malign Trimis de siveco, 03.08.2004. Sursa: Antonime  BENÍGN adj. (med.) curabil,… …   Dicționar Român

  • Benign — Be*nign , a. [OE. benigne, bening, OF. benigne, F. b[ e]nin, fem. b[ e]nigne, fr. L. benignus, contr. from benigenus; bonus good + root of genus kind. See {Bounty}, and {Genus}.] 1. Of a kind or gentle disposition; gracious; generous; favorable;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • benign — [adj1] kindly amiable, beneficent, benevolent, benignant, complaisant, congenial, favorable, friendly, generous, genial, gentle, good, goodhearted, gracious, kind, liberal, merciful, mild, obliging, sympathetic; concept 542 Ant. hateful, hostile …   New thesaurus

  • benign — (adj.) early 14c., from O.Fr. benigne (12c., kind, benign, merciful, gracious; Mod.Fr. bénin, fem. bénigne), from L. benignus kindly, kindhearted, friendly, generous, lit. well born, from bene well (see BENE (Cf. bene )) + gignere to bear, beget …   Etymology dictionary

  • benign — [bi nīn′] adj. [ME & OFr benigne < L benignus, good, lit., well born < bene, well (cf. sense development of GENTLE) + genus, birth: see GENUS] 1. good natured; kindly 2. favorable; beneficial 3. Med. doing little or no harm; not malignant;… …   English World dictionary

  • benign — index beneficial, benevolent, charitable (lenient), favorable (expressing approval), harmless, humane, nontoxic …   Law dictionary

  • benign — 1 benignant, kindly, *kind Analogous words: *gracious, genial, cordial, affable: sympathetic, *tender, compassionate: *suave, urbane, bland Antonyms: malign Contrasted words: malignant, malevolent, *malicious, spiteful: * …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • benign — is principally used in medicine to mean ‘not life threatening’; its opposite is malignant. The word benignant, meaning ‘kindly’ or ‘beneficial’, has largely fallen out of use …   Modern English usage

  • benign — ► ADJECTIVE 1) genial and kindly. 2) favourable; not harmful. 3) (of a tumour) not malignant. DERIVATIVES benignity noun benignly adverb. ORIGIN Latin benignus, probably from bene well + genus born …   English terms dictionary

  • benign — adjective Etymology: Middle English benigne, from Anglo French, from Latin benignus, from bene + gignere to beget more at kin Date: 14th century 1. of a gentle disposition ; gracious < a benign teacher > 2 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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