--noun (singular: welfare)

1. public assistance: governmental provision of economic assistance to persons in need.
  • "She lives on welfare."
2. benefit: something that aids or promotes well-being.
3. eudaemonia: a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous.
Old English wel faran, condition of being or doing well, from wel (see well (adv.)) + faran "get along" (see fare (2)). Meaning "social concern for the well-being of children, the unemployed, etc." is first attested 1904.

Welfare is the provision of a minimal level of well-being and social support for citizens and other eligible residents without sufficient current means to support basic needs.