AskDefine | Define donate

Dictionary Definition

donate v : give to a charity or good cause; "I donated blood to the Red Cross for the victims of the earthquake"; "donate money to the orphanage"; "She donates to her favorite charity every month"

User Contributed Dictionary



c.1845, back-formation from donation, chiefly in American English. Ultimately from donare (to give).


  • /dəʊneɪt/
  • /"doUneIt/


  1. To make a donation; to give away something of value to support or contribute towards a cause or for the benefit of another.
    She donates 100 dollars to Red Crescent every year.
    He donated an etching from his own collection to the new art gallery.


to give away something of value



  1. Form of Second-person plural present tense, donare
  2. Form of Second-person plural imperative, donare#Italian|donare

Extensive Definition

A donation is a gift given, typically to a cause or/and for charitable purposes. A donation may take various forms, including cash, services, new or used goods as i.e. clothing, toys, food, vehicles, emergency or humanitarian aid items, and can also relate to medical care needs as i.e. blood or organs for transplant. Charitable gifts of goods or services are also called gifts in kind.

Legal aspects

Donations are gifts given without return consideration. This lack of return consideration means that, in common law, an agreement to make a donation is an "imperfect contract void for want of consideration." Only when the donation is actually made does it acquire legal status as a transfer or property. In civil law jurisdictions, on the contrary, donations are valid contracts, though they may require some extra formalities, such as being done in writing.
In politics, the law of some countries may prohibit or restrict the extent to which politicians may accept gifts or donations of large sums of money, especially from business or special interest groups (see campaign finance).
In countries where there are limits imposed on the freedom of disposition of the testator, there are usually similar limits on donations.
The person or institution giving a gift is called the donor, and the person or institution getting the gift is called the donee.

Donating in the name of others

It is possible to donate in the name of a third party, making a gift in honor or in memory of someone or something. Gifts in honor or memory of a third party are made for various reasons, such as holiday gifts, wedding gifts, in memory of somebody who has died, in memory of pets or in the name of groups or associations no longer existing. Memorial gifts are sometimes requested by the survivors (e.g. "in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to ABC Charity"), usually directing donations to a charitable organization for which the deceased was a donor or volunteer, or for a cause befitting the deceased's priorities in life or manner of death. Memorial donations are also sometimes given by people if they cannot go to the ceremonies.
donate in German: Spende
donate in Spanish: Donación
donate in Indonesian: Sumbangan
donate in Italian: Donazione
donate in Japanese: 寄付
donate in Serbian: Донација
donate in Swedish: Donation
donate in Korean: 증여
donate in Chinese: 捐贈

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accommodate, accord, administer, afford, allot, allow, award, bequeath, bestow, bestow on, chip in, clothe, communicate, confer, contribute, contribute to, deal, deal out, devote, dish out, dispense, dole, dole out, donate to, endow, extend, fill, fill up, find, fork out, fund, furnish, gift, gift with, give, give away, give freely, give out, give to, grant, hand, hand out, heap, help to, impart, invest, issue, keep, kick in, lavish, let have, maintain, make available, make provision for, mete, mete out, offer, pledge, pour, prepare, present, proffer, provide, provide for, rain, recruit, render, replenish, serve, shell out, shower, slip, snow, stock, store, subscribe, subscribe to, subsidize, supply, support, sweeten the kitty, tender, vouchsafe, will, yield
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