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For example: Friedrich Engels supported Karl Marx during his entire life, so he could focus on his work. I know there is a word for such a relationship, but cannot remember it. Please help me out.

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    The word is patron. As in patron of the arts or the crowdfunding site Patreon.
    – Dan Bron
    Jun 16, 2017 at 14:01
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    Another word for it is sponsor.
    – Drew
    Jun 16, 2017 at 14:03
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    Another is benefactor.
    – Davo
    Jun 16, 2017 at 18:44
  • Informally, "angel".
    – Greg Lee
    Nov 29, 2017 at 13:33

2 Answers 2

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patron

a person who supports with money, gifts, efforts, or endorsement an artist, writer, museum, cause, charity, institution, special event, or the like

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/patron?s=t

Also: benefactor, supporter, sponsor, backer, protector

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meacenas / mecenas

generous benefactor, typically a patron in literature or art.

This seems to be rarely used in English, but we do use it in Dutch (it's derived from the Latin word 'mecenas').

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    This would be a great answer on Dutch.SE, but I heartily recommend the OP to not use it in English.
    – Mitch
    Nov 29, 2017 at 13:19
  • even if it's rarely used? Nov 30, 2017 at 13:55
  • Define 'rare'. Why use a barely recognizable word to the vast majority of readers when a much more common word, 'patron' already exists? In certain academic circles (mostly classics) 'maecenas' would be perfectly fine, but outside of that would be pretentious at best.
    – Mitch
    Nov 30, 2017 at 14:35
  • ok - agreed - fine with me :) I wasn't sure if people visiting a site like this like it (or not) to come across these rare (possibly pretentious :)) words.. Dec 1, 2017 at 15:08
  • at Thieme: oh sure, we're totally into rare pretentious words. Where else can you go for that? I'm just adding the nuance about it so that people who read this and have never heard the term before have an idea of really how it is used. In English it is more often used as the proper name of Horace's patron rather than metaphorically as a patron in general.
    – Mitch
    Dec 1, 2017 at 15:16

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