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398. Kindness (See also Generosity.)

  1. Allworthy, Squire Tom Joness goodhearted foster father. [Br. Lit.: Tom Jones ]
  2. Androcles relieves lion of thorn in paw and is repaid in arena by lions failure to attack him. [Rom. Lit.: Noctes Atticae, Leach, 55]
  3. Bachelor, the the universal mediator, comforter, and friend. [Br. Lit.: Old Curiosity Shop ]
  4. Bishop of Digne gave starving Valjean food, bed, and comfort. [Fr. Lit.: Les Misérables ]
  5. Boaz took benevolent custody of Ruth. [O.T.: Ruth 2:816]
  6. Brownlow, Mr. rescued Oliver Twist from arrest and adopted him. [Br. Lit.: Dickens Oliver Twist ]
  7. calycanthus symbol of compassion. [Plant Symbolism: Jobes, 279]
  8. Carey, Louisa Philips loving, sensitive aunt. [Br. Lit.: Of Human Bondage, Magill I, 670672]
  9. Cuttle, Captain kindly shelters runaway, Florence Dombey. [Br. Lit.: Dombey and Son ]
  10. Evilmerodach Babylonian king; kind to captive king, Jehoiachin. [O.T.: II Kings 25:2729]
  11. Finn, Huckleberry refuses to turn in Jim, the fugitive slave. [Am. Lit.: Huckleberry Finn ]
  12. Francis of Assisi, St. (11821226) patron saint and benevolent protector of animals. [Christian Hagiog.: Hall, 132]
  13. Fridays child loving and giving. [Nurs. Rhyme: Opie, 309]
  14. Glinda the Good Witch; Dorothys guardian angel. [Am. Lit.: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ; Am. Cinema: Halliwell, 780]
  15. Good Samaritan helps out man victimized by thieves and neglected by other passers-by. [N.T.: Luke 10:3035]
  16. heart symbol of kindness and benevolence. [Heraldry: Halberts, 30]
  17. Hood, Robin helps the poor by plundering the rich. [Br. Lit.: Robin Hood ]
  18. Jesus Christ kind to the poor, forgiving to the sinful. [N.T.: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John]
  19. Joseph of Arimathaea retrieved Christs body, enshrouded and buried it. [N.T.: Matthew 27:5761; John 19:3842]
  20. Kuan Yin goddess of mercy. [Buddhism: Binder, 42]
  21. La Creevy, Miss spinster painter of miniatures who devoted herself to befriending the Nicklebys. [Br. Lit.: Dickens Nicholas Nickleby ]
  22. lemon balm symbol of compassion. [Herb Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 164]
  23. Merrick, Robert doing good to others as raison dêtre. [Am. Lit.: The Magnificent Obsession, Magill I, 547549]
  24. Nereus venerable sea god of great kindliness. [Gk. Myth.: Century Classical, 744745]
  25. Old Woman of Leeds spent all her time in good deeds. [Nurs. Rhyme: Mother Goose, 97]
  26. ox exhibits fellow-feeling for comrades. [Medieval Animal Symbolism: White, 7778]
  27. Peggotty, Daniel kindhearted bachelor who shelters niece and nephew. [Br. Lit.: David Copperfield ]
  28. Philadelphia city of brotherly love. [Am. Hist.: Hart, 651]
  29. Rivers, St. John takes starving Jane Eyre into his home. [Br. Lit.: Jane Eyre ]
  30. Rodolph, Grand Duke helps criminals and the poor to a better life. [Fr. Lit.: Sue The Mysteries of Paris in Magill I, 632]
  31. Romola cares lovingly for her blind father, provides for her husbands mistress and children, and is kind to all who suffer. [Br. Lit.: George Eliot Romola ]
  32. St. Martin in midwinter, gave his cloak to a freezing beggar. [Christian Hagiog.: Brewer Dictionary ]
  33. Strong, Doctor the kindest of men. [Br. Lit.: David Copperfield ]
  34. throatwort indicates sympathy. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 178]
  35. Veronica, St. from pity, offers Christ cloth to wipe face. [Christian Hagiog.: Attwater, 334]
  36. Vincent de Paul, St. French priest renowned for his charitable work. [Christian Hagiog.: NCE, 2896]
  37. Wenceslas, St. Bohemian prince noted for piety and generosity. [Eur. Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 1147]

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"Kindness." Allusions--Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. . 16 Dec. 2017 <>.

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In public health, the governing ethical theory is utilitarianism, meaning "doing the greatest good for the largest number of people." Beneficence is strongly tied to the utilitarian theory of ethics. It is one of four principles considered in medicine and public health under the principle-based approach to ethical analysis. The other three principles are: respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, and distributive justice. Beneficence is the professional duty to do or produce good. By "good" is meant the performance of acts of kindness and charity. "Doing good" is considered virtuous conduct. Ultimately, beneficence is the duty to do more good than harm through public health actions because, in practice, no action in public health will have exclusively beneficial effects. For example, if a public health agency becomes aware of a person infected with a bacterium that could be spread through the air, then, there is, on the one hand, a duty to respect the person's right to confidentiality and freedom of movement. But, on the other hand, there is a greater duty to prevent the spread of the bacterium to other people. Thus, more good would be achieved by protecting the public health, which can be accomplished only by breaching the duty to maintain the infected person's confidentiality and freedom of movement. Such breaches would occur only to reduce the risk associated with permitting the infectious person to put others at risk of infection (e.g., through quarantine or confinement, with a consequent loss of privacy in terms of the diagnosis). The ethical dilemma for decision makers in public health lies in weighing the pros and cons between at least two conflicting options: protecting the individual's rights or protecting the public health. Such breaches of an individual's rights are rare in public health and are undertaken only with maximum discretion.

Colin L. Soskolne

(see also: Autonomy; Ethics of Public Health; Nonmaleficence; Paternalism )


Beauchamp T. L., and Childress, J. F. (1994). Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 4th edition. New York: Oxford University Press.

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"Beneficence." Encyclopedia of Public Health. . 16 Dec. 2017 <>.

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beneficence (bi-nef-i-sĕns) n. (in health care) the duty to do good and avoid doing harm to other people, which includes acting to promote their interests and protecting the weak and vulnerable. It includes the duty of advocacy (see advocate).

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"beneficence." A Dictionary of Nursing. . 16 Dec. 2017 <>.

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kind·ness / ˈkīn(d)nis/ • n. the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. ∎  a kind act: it is a kindness I shall never forget.

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"kindness." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . 16 Dec. 2017 <>.

"kindness." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . (December 16, 2017).

"kindness." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 16, 2017 from


beneficenceabeyance, conveyance, purveyance •creance • ambience •irradiance, radiance •expedience, obedience •audience •dalliance, mésalliance •salience •consilience, resilience •emollience • ebullience •convenience, lenience, provenience •impercipience, incipience, percipience •variance • experience •luxuriance, prurience •nescience • omniscience •insouciance • deviance •subservience • transience •alliance, appliance, compliance, defiance, misalliance, neuroscience, reliance, science •allowance •annoyance, clairvoyance, flamboyance •fluence, pursuance •perpetuance • affluence • effluence •mellifluence • confluence •congruence • issuance • continuance •disturbance •attendance, dependence, interdependence, resplendence, superintendence, tendance, transcendence •cadence •antecedence, credence, impedance •riddance • diffidence • confidence •accidence • precedence • dissidence •coincidence, incidence •evidence •improvidence, providence •residence •abidance, guidance, misguidance, subsidence •correspondence, despondence •accordance, concordance, discordance •avoidance, voidance •imprudence, jurisprudence, prudence •impudence • abundance • elegance •arrogance • extravagance •allegiance • indigence •counter-intelligence, intelligence •negligence • diligence • intransigence •exigence •divulgence, effulgence, indulgence, refulgence •convergence, divergence, emergence, insurgence, resurgence, submergence •significance •balance, counterbalance, imbalance, outbalance, valance •parlance • repellence • semblance •bivalence, covalence, surveillance, valence •sibilance • jubilance • vigilance •pestilence • silence • condolence •virulence • ambulance • crapulence •flatulence • feculence • petulance •opulence • fraudulence • corpulence •succulence, truculence •turbulence • violence • redolence •indolence • somnolence • excellence •insolence • nonchalance •benevolence, malevolence •ambivalence, equivalence •Clemence • vehemence •conformance, outperformance, performance •adamance • penance • ordinance •eminence • imminence •dominance, prominence •abstinence • maintenance •continence • countenance •sustenance •appurtenance, impertinence, pertinence •provenance • ordnance • repugnance •ordonnance • immanence •impermanence, permanence •assonance • dissonance • consonance •governance • resonance • threepence •halfpence • sixpence •comeuppance, tuppence, twopence •clarence, transparence •aberrance, deterrence, inherence, Terence •remembrance • entrance •Behrens, forbearance •fragrance • hindrance • recalcitrance •abhorrence, Florence, Lawrence, Lorentz •monstrance •concurrence, co-occurrence, occurrence, recurrence •encumbrance •adherence, appearance, clearance, coherence, interference, perseverance •assurance, durance, endurance, insurance •exuberance, protuberance •preponderance • transference •deference, preference, reference •difference • inference • conference •sufferance • circumference •belligerence • tolerance • ignorance •temperance • utterance • furtherance •irreverence, reverence, severance •deliverance • renascence • absence •acquiescence, adolescence, arborescence, coalescence, convalescence, deliquescence, effervescence, essence, evanescence, excrescence, florescence, fluorescence, incandescence, iridescence, juvenescence, luminescence, obsolescence, opalescence, phosphorescence, pubescence, putrescence, quiescence, quintessence, tumescence •obeisance, Renaissance •puissance •impuissance, reminiscence •beneficence, maleficence •magnificence, munificence •reconnaissance • concupiscence •reticence •licence, license •nonsense •nuisance, translucence •innocence • conversance • sentience •impatience, patience •conscience •repentance, sentence •acceptance • acquaintance •acquittance, admittance, intermittence, pittance, quittance, remittance •assistance, coexistence, consistence, distance, existence, insistence, outdistance, persistence, resistance, subsistence •instance • exorbitance •concomitance •impenitence, penitence •appetence •competence, omnicompetence •inheritance • capacitance • hesitance •Constance • importance • potence •conductance, inductance, reluctance •substance • circumstance •omnipotence • impotence •inadvertence • grievance •irrelevance, relevance •connivance, contrivance •observance • sequence • consequence •subsequence • eloquence •grandiloquence, magniloquence •brilliance • poignance •omnipresence, pleasance, presence •complaisance • malfeasance •incognizance, recognizance •usance • recusance

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"beneficence." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . 16 Dec. 2017 <>.

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