bower

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English bour, from Old English būr, in turn from Proto-Germanic *būraz. Cognate with German Bauer (birdcage), Old Norse búr (Danish bur, Swedish bur (cage)).

Noun[edit]

bower (plural bowers)

  1. A bedroom or private apartments, especially for a woman in a medieval castle.
    • Gascoigne
      Give me my lute in bed now as I lie, / And lock the doors of mine unlucky bower.
  2. (literary) A dwelling; a picturesque country cottage, especially one that is used as a retreat.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shenstone to this entry?)
  3. A shady, leafy shelter or recess in a garden or woods.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act 3 Scene 1
      [] say that thou overheard'st us,
      And bid her steal into the pleached bower,
      Where honey-suckles, ripen'd by the sun,
      Forbid the sun to enter; []
    • 1907, Harold Bindloss, chapter 1, in The Dust of Conflict[1]:
      [] belts of thin white mist streaked the brown plough land in the hollow where Appleby could see the pale shine of a winding river. Across that in turn, meadow and coppice rolled away past the white walls of a village bowered in orchards, []
    • 1979, J.G. Ballard, The Unlimited Dream Company, chapter 30:
      The entire town mated together, in the leafy bowers that had sprung up among the washing-machines and television sets in the shopping mall, on the settees and divans by the furniture store, in the tropical paradises of the suburban gardens.
  4. (ornithology) A large structure made of grass and bright objects, used by the bower bird during courtship displays.
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

bower (third-person singular simple present bowers, present participle bowering, simple past and past participle bowered)

  1. To embower; to enclose.
    • c. 1591–1595, Shakespeare, William, Romeo and Juliet, act 3, scene 2, lines 80–82:
      O nature, what hadst thou to do in hell / When thou didst bower the spirit of a fiend / In mortal paradise of such sweet flesh?
  2. (obsolete) To lodge.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Edmund Spenser to this entry?)

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English boueer, from Old English būr, ġebūr (freeholder of the lowest class, peasant, farmer) and Middle Dutch bouwer (farmer, builder, peasant); both from Proto-Germanic *būraz (dweller), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰōw- (to dwell). Cognate with German Bauer (peasant, builder), Dutch boer, buur, and Albanian burrë (man, husband). See boor, neighbor.

Noun[edit]

bower (plural bowers)

  1. A peasant; a farmer.

Etymology 3[edit]

From German Bauer.

Noun[edit]

bower (plural bowers)

  1. Either of the two highest trumps in euchre.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 4[edit]

From the bow of a ship.

Noun[edit]

bower (plural bowers)

  1. (nautical) A type of ship's anchor, carried at the bow.
  2. One who bows or bends.
    • 1977, Desmond Morris, Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior, page 144:
      The bower aims his display straight at the dominant figure, who may reciprocate with a milder version of the same action.
  3. One who plays any of several bow instruments, such as the musical bow or diddley bow.
  4. A muscle that bends a limb, especially the arm.
    • Spenser
      His rawbone arms, whose mighty brawned bowers / Were wont to rive steel plates and helmets hew.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 5[edit]

From bough, compare brancher.

Noun[edit]

bower (plural bowers)

  1. (obsolete, falconry) A young hawk, when it begins to leave the nest.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for bower in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)