AskDefine | Define kindness

Dictionary Definition



1 the quality of being warm-hearted and considerate and humane and sympathetic [ant: unkindness]
2 tendency to be kind and forgiving [syn: forgivingness]
3 a kind act [syn: benignity]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The state of being kind.
  2. An instance of kind or charitable behaviour.


being kind
instance of charitable behavior

Extensive Definition

Kindness is the act or the state of charitable behavior to other people.

In philosophy and culture

Kindness is considered to be one of the Knightly Virtues, and is a recognized value in many cultures and religions (see ethics in religion). It is considered to be one of the seven virtues, specifically the one of the Seven Contrary Virtues (direct opposites of the seven deadly sins) that is the direct opposite to envy. The Talmud claims that "deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments." Paul of Tarsus defines love as being `patient and kind...` (I Corinthians).
In Buddhism, one of the Ten Perfections (Paramitas) is Mettā, which is usually translated into English as "loving-kindness". Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama wrote "my religion is kindness" and authored a book entitled Kindness, Clarity, and Insight.
Confucius urges his followers to "recompense kindness with kindness."
According to book two of Aristotle's Rhetoric it is one of the emotions (see list of emotions), which is defined as being "helpfulness towards some one in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped".
One of the four caryatids on the Wallace fountains in Paris represents kindness.
In a study of 37 cultures around the world, 16000 subjects were asked about their most desired traits in a mate. For both sexes, the first preference was kindness (the second was intelligence).
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had this to say about kindness:
Economy of kindness.
''Kindness and love, the most curative herbs and agents in human intercourse, are such precious finds that one would hope these balsamlike remedies would be used as economically as possible; but this is impossible. Only the boldest Utopians would dream of the economy of kindness.''
Islamic view of kindness:
"Kindness is half of life.", Imam Musa Al-Kadhim, the 7th Imam of Shia Islam school of thought, Imam Musa Al-Kadhim was the 7th leader after prophet Mohammed as per the beliefs of Shia Muslims.


kindness in Czech: Přejícnost
kindness in German: Freundlichkeit
kindness in Spanish: Amabilidad
kindness in Portuguese: Caridade
kindness in Ukrainian: Лагідність

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accommodatingness, act of grace, act of kindness, advantageousness, affability, agreeableness, aid, amiability, amiableness, amicability, amicableness, amity, assistance, auspiciousness, benefaction, beneficence, beneficialness, benefit, benevolence, benignity, blessing, charitableness, charity, class, clemency, cogency, commiseration, compassion, complaisance, compliance, condolence, condonation, congeniality, consideration, cordiality, courtesy, decency, desert, dispensation, disregard, excellence, expedience, fairness, favor, favorableness, feeling, fineness, first-rateness, forbearance, forgiveness, forgivingness, friendliness, friendship, generosity, generousness, geniality, gentleness, good deed, good offices, good turn, goodliness, goodness, grace, graciosity, graciousness, healthiness, helpfulness, hospitality, humaneness, humanity, indulgence, kind deed, kind offices, kindliness, kindly act, labor of love, leniency, long-suffering, longanimity, love, magnanimity, mercy, merit, mitigation, mitzvah, neighborlikeness, neighborliness, niceness, obligation, obligingness, office, overlooking, pardon, pathos, patience, peaceableness, philanthropy, pity, pleasantness, profitableness, quality, quarter, relief, reprieve, rewardingness, ruth, self-pity, service, skillfulness, sociability, soundness, superiority, sympathy, tenderness, thoughtfulness, tolerance, turn, understanding, unhostility, unrevengefulness, usefulness, validity, value, virtue, virtuousness, warmth, well-affectedness, wholeness, worth
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