Revenue Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

Wondering about the meaning of revenue? Read on to discover everything you need to know about revenue including its definition, origin, and more. 

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Whether you own an e-commerce or simply have experience working in the corporate world, you’ve likely come across the word “revenue” — but what exactly does it mean? And why is it so important? We’ll tell you. 

Read on to discover everything you need to know about revenue, including the word’s definition, examples, and more. 

What Is the Definition of Revenue?

If you were to browse one of the many trusted English Dictionaries like Cambridge Dictionary or the many others, you would see revenue defined as the total income produced from a specific source. 

Revenue can also be defined as government income produced due to taxation; however, this definition of the word was not recorded until the 1680s and would not be popularized until 1971 — but more on that later.

Gross sales is another term you may see in place of revenue and is often referred to as the “top line” because it sits on the very top of the income statement — on its “top line.”

Revenue can be defined as the income the government receives from taxes and money earned by any certain business. 

What Are Some Examples of Revenue?

Since we have a few slightly varying meanings behind the word revenue, you would think it is safe to assume there are a few different types of revenue — and you would indeed be correct. 

Read on to discover a few examples of revenue in varying industries:

  • Government revenue — Revenue is the money any government may receive from securities sales, fees, fines, inter-governmental grants, resource and mineral rights sales, and income received through taxation. Government revenue encompasses all money received from any source outside of the original government entity.
  • Non-profit revenue — Gross receipts, components include; donations from foundations, individuals, or companies; investments; fundraising activities; grants from government entities; and membership fees.

Adversely, when it comes to revenue from real estate investments, revenue here refers to the income generated by any given property. This revenue could be through things like parking fees, but more commonly, it refers to the rent obtained from a property.

Note to the Reader: An acronym that you may see when used in regards to real estate revenue is (NOI) or net operating income. The NOI is obtained when the operating expenses that are incurred while running a property are subtracted from the property income.

Associated Words That You Should Know

As you continue on your journey to better understand the word revenue, you’ll likely come across many terms that may cause some confusion if you aren’t exactly sure what they mean. 

So to prevent this from happening, we’ve put together a list of words and their definitions that are commonly associated with the term revenue. 

By learning these associated terms, you will improve your understanding of the word revenue, and you’ll also enhance your overall vocabulary!

  • Cash flow — In reference to the net amount of cash being transferred in as well as out of any single business
  • Operating profit — Excluding deductions of tax and interests, “operating profit” is the total earnings from a company’s core business operations.
  • Retained earnings — Defined as the profit a company obtains after accounting for dividends or net earnings, frequently referred to as an earning surplus.
  • COGS — Acronym for cost of good sold

What Is the Origin of Revenue?

Revenue as we use it today (defined as income from possessions or property) was first documented in the 15th century. Revenue is a derivative of the Old French revenue — which itself was defined as “to come back or to return. “

The noun is also a past participle of revenir which dates back to the 10th century and comes from the Latin revenire.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Revenue?

To help you further your knowledge of the word revenue, we have put together a list of synonyms and antonyms for the word revenue provided by the WordHippo and Power Thesaurus.

Synonyms of revenue:

  • Income
  • Earnings
  • Source of income
  • Receipts
  • Amount of money
  • Dividend
  • Sale of goods
  • Money on hand
  • Accounts receivable
  • Fundraising 
  • Advance
  • Gross income
  • Total income
  • Net sales
  • Compensation
  • Accrual
  • Gross pay
  • Taxation
  • Bottom line
  • Cash flow
  • Net sale
  • Returns
  • Profits

Antonyms of revenue:

  • Expense
  • Debt
  • Disbursement
  • Costs
  • Outlay
  • Misfortune
  • Insufficiency
  • Undersupply
  • Arrears 
  • Expenditure
  • Minus sum of money
  • Dues
  • Lack of profit

Examples of Revenue Used in a Sentence

Now that you understand what revenue means, it’s time to practice using our word of the day in a sentence. Quiz yourself to see how many sentences you can come up with using the term revenue. Need some help? Not to worry — check out our usage examples listed below:

I am trying to read the balance sheet, but the advertising revenue has not been input, nor have a few other types of revenue.

If you’re looking for the company’s revenue from last year, you’ll need to ask the CPA for the corresponding financial statements.

Sir, clearly, I’m aware of where net income appears on our company’s income statement. What I am trying to locate is the non-operating revenue.”


Simply put, revenue is money earned. Whether that is about a business earning money through the sales of goods or a government receiving income due to taxes, both are defined as revenue. 


  1. Revenue: definition | The Cambridge English Dictionary
  2. What is another word for revenue? | Word Hippo 
  3. Revenue definitions – Meaning of Revenue | Power Thesaurus