Ask Difference

Worthy vs. Worthwhile — What's the Difference?

By Urooj Arif & Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 2, 2024
Worthy implies deserving respect, attention, or merit, often due to qualities or achievements, while worthwhile refers to something valuable enough to justify the effort or cost involved.
Worthy vs. Worthwhile — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Worthy and Worthwhile


Key Differences

"Worthy" typically denotes merit based on inherent qualities or accomplishments, suggesting that something or someone merits respect or attention. On the other hand, "worthwhile" is used when an activity, task, or investment returns enough value or benefit to justify the resources spent, such as time or money.
In evaluating a cause or a person, if they are described as worthy, it generally conveys that they possess significant virtues or qualifications. Whereas, describing a project or activity as worthwhile focuses more on the practical returns or the value derived from engaging in it.
An award might be given to someone considered worthy due to their exemplary character or significant achievements. Conversely, a project is often undertaken because it is deemed worthwhile, implying it will result in meaningful outcomes or benefits.
The term worthy often carries a moral or ethical connotation, aligning with honor and dignity. In contrast, worthwhile is typically assessed through a lens of efficiency or utility, evaluating whether the outcome is sufficient to merit the inputs.
Philanthropic efforts are often supported if they are seen as worthy, aligning with societal values or humanitarian goals. Meanwhile, an investment in a business is considered worthwhile if the potential financial returns outweigh the risks and costs.

Comparison Chart


Deserving respect or attention
Justifying effort or cost


Moral or ethical value
Practical or utilitarian value

Common Usage

People, causes, or efforts
Activities, investments

Associated With

Merit, virtue
Efficiency, benefit

Example Contexts

Awards, honors
Projects, investments

Compare with Definitions


Deserving effort, attention, or respect.
Volunteers are considered worthy of praise for their selfless contributions.


Worth the time, money, or effort spent; of value or importance.
The renovation project was costly but worthwhile.


Having adequate or great merit, character, or value.
The novel was deemed worthy of the literary award.


Capable of being rewarded in ways that equate to the effort involved.
Pursuing an advanced degree is worthwhile for career progression.


Having qualities or abilities that merit recognition in some way.
She proved herself worthy of the leadership role.


Justifying the effort or cost; valuable.
Volunteering here is worthwhile because it makes a real difference.


Suitable or fitting, often with a sense of dignity.
The charity event was a worthy cause that garnered much support.


Beneficial enough to merit a specific action or commitment.
The time invested in this research is worthwhile, given its potential impact.


Deserving of; sufficient for.
The case was deemed worthy of further investigation.


Sufficiently rewarding or offering enough benefit to justify the means.
Attending the seminar is worthwhile as it provides essential industry insights.


Having or showing the qualities that deserve the specified action or regard
These issues are worthy of further consideration


Sufficiently valuable or important to be worth one's time, effort, or interest.


Characterized by good intent but lacking in humour or imagination
Worthy but tedious advice


Good and important enough to spend time, effort, or money on.
Doing volunteer work to help others is truly worthwhile.


A person notable or important in a particular sphere
Schools governed by local worthies


Worth the time or effort spent.


Having worth, merit, or value
A worthy cause.


Sufficiently valuable to justify the investment of time or interest;
A worthwhile book


Honorable; admirable
A worthy fellow.


Having sufficient worth; deserving
Worthy to be revered.
Worthy of acclaim.


An eminent or distinguished person.


Having worth, merit, or value.


Admirable or honourable.


Deserving, or having sufficient worth.


Suited; suitable; befitting.


A distinguished or eminent person.


(transitive) To render or treat as worthy; exalt; revere; honour; esteem; respect; value; reward; adore.


Having worth or excellence; possessing merit; valuable; deserving; estimable; excellent; virtuous.
Full worthy was he in his lordes war.
These banished men that I have kept withalAre men endued with worthy qualities.
Happier thou mayst be, worthier canst not be.
This worthy mind should worthy things embrace.


Having suitable, adapted, or equivalent qualities or value; - usually with of before the thing compared or the object; more rarely, with a following infinitive instead of of, or with that; as, worthy of, equal in excellence, value, or dignity to; entitled to; meriting; - usually in a good sense, but sometimes in a bad one.
No, Warwick, thou art worthy of the sway.
The merciless Macdonwald,Worthy to be a rebel.
Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear.
And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not knowMore happiness.
The lodging is well worthy of the guest.


Of high station; of high social position.
Worthy women of the town.


A man of eminent worth or value; one distinguished for useful and estimable qualities; a person of conspicuous desert; - much used in the plural; as, the worthies of the church; political worthies; military worthies.
The blood of ancient worthies in his veins.


To render worthy; to exalt into a hero.


Word is often used humorously


Having worth or merit or value; being honorable or admirable;
A worthy fellow
No student deemed worthy, and chosen for admission, would be kept out for lack of funds
Worthy of acclaim
Orthy of consideration
A worthy cause


Worthy of being chosen especially as a spouse;
The parents found the girl suitable for their son


Meriting respect or esteem;
The worthy gentleman


Having high moral qualities;
A noble spirit
A solid citizen
An upstanding man
A worthy successor


Morally admirable;
A worthy citizen

Common Curiosities

What makes something worthy?

Something is considered worthy if it possesses qualities like merit, virtue, or significance that demand respect or attention.

What are examples of worthy causes?

Worthy causes often include charitable efforts, humanitarian aid, or campaigns promoting social justice.

How do I know if an activity is worthwhile?

An activity is worthwhile if the outcome or benefits justify the effort, time, or cost invested in it.

Can a person be described as worthwhile?

Typically, "worthwhile" describes actions or efforts rather than people, focusing on the value of activities.

What is the difference in usage between worthy and worthwhile?

"Worthy" often describes moral or ethical excellence, while "worthwhile" assesses practical or utilitarian value.

How does one determine if a project is worthwhile?

Determining if a project is worthwhile typically involves analyzing expected benefits against the costs and effort required.

How does society benefit from supporting worthy causes?

Supporting worthy causes can lead to social improvements, uplift marginalized groups, and foster a sense of community and responsibility.

Is it worthwhile to invest in education?

Yes, investing in education is generally considered worthwhile due to the long-term benefits in knowledge and career opportunities.

Can a movie be both worthy and worthwhile?

Yes, a movie can be worthy due to its artistic merit and worthwhile if watching it provides valuable insights or enjoyment.

Why is it important to recognize worthy individuals?

Recognizing worthy individuals can inspire others and uphold societal values by highlighting positive traits and achievements.

What are the indicators that an investment is worthwhile?

Indicators include potential financial returns, the impact of the investment, and alignment with long-term goals.

Can a small effort be worthwhile?

Yes, even small efforts can be worthwhile if they produce meaningful or desired outcomes relative to the input.

Can a hobby be considered worthwhile?

Yes, if the hobby provides personal satisfaction, relaxation, or other benefits, it can be considered worthwhile.

How do values influence what is considered worthy?

Cultural, personal, and societal values play a crucial role in determining what is considered worthy by affecting perceptions of merit and importance.

What makes a task worthwhile even if it's difficult?

A task can be worthwhile if the results, such as personal growth or significant achievements, justify the challenges faced.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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