Definition of benign adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//bɪˈnaɪn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈnaɪn//
    jump to other results
  1. 1(formal) (of people) kind and gentle; not hurting anybody You would never have guessed his intentions from the benign expression on his face. See related entries: Kind
  2. 2not causing damage or harm The industry's environmental impact is relatively benign, even positive. environmentally benign cleaning products
  3. 3(medical) (of tumours growing in the body) not dangerous or likely to cause death opposite malignant
  4. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French benigne, from Latin benignus, probably from bene ‘well’ + -genus ‘-born’. Compare with gentle.Extra examples We are looking for an environmentally benign alternative to bleach. He thought of himself as a benign leader. Her face was gentle and benign. Many parents adopt a policy of benign neglect —making sure children are fed and clothed and attending school, but leaving them to entertain themselves out of school. She is recovering after surgery to remove a benign tumour. The native inhabitants at first thought European traders were completely benign. The presence of women and children had a benign influence on the soldiers.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: benign