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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Char·i·ty n.; pl. Charities
 1. Love; universal benevolence; good will.
    Now abideth faith, hope, charity, three; but the greatest of these is charity.   --1. Cor. xiii. 13.
    They, at least, are little to be envied, in whose hearts the great charities . . . lie dead.   --Ruskin.
    With malice towards none, with charity for all.   --Lincoln.
 2. Liberality in judging of men and their actions; a disposition which inclines men to put the best construction on the words and actions of others.
    The highest exercise of charity is charity towards the uncharitable.   --Buckminster.
 3. Liberality to the poor and the suffering, to benevolent institutions, or to worthy causes; generosity.
    The heathen poet, in commending the charity of Dido to the Trojans, spake like a Christian.   --Dryden.
 4. Whatever is bestowed gratuitously on the needy or suffering for their relief; alms; any act of kindness.
    She did ill then to refuse her a charity.   --L'Estrange.
 5. A charitable institution, or a gift to create and support such an institution; as, Lady Margaret's charity.
 6. pl. Law Eleemosynary appointments [grants or devises] including relief of the poor or friendless, education, religious culture, and public institutions.
 The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless,
 Are scattered at the feet of man like flowers.   --Wordsworth.
 Sisters of Charity R. C. Ch., a sisterhood of religious women engaged in works of mercy, esp. in nursing the sick; -- a popular designation. There are various orders of the Sisters of Charity.
 Syn: -- Love; benevolence; good will; affection; tenderness; beneficence; liberality; almsgiving.