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See also: Dower



From Middle English dower, dowere, from Old French doeire, from Medieval Latin dōtārium, from Latin dōs.



dower (plural dowers)

  1. (law) The part of or interest in a deceased husband's property provided to his widow, usually in the form of a life estate.
  2. (law) Property given by a groom directly to his bride at or before their wedding in order to legitimize the marriage; dowry.
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 3 scene 1
      [] how features are abroad, / I am skill-less of; but, by my modesty,— / The jewel in my dower,—I would not wish / Any companion in the world but you []
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 6:
      In New Bedford, fathers, they say, give whales for dowers to their daughters, and portion off their nieces with a few porpoises a-piece.
  3. (obsolete) That with which one is gifted or endowed; endowment; gift.
    • (Can we date this quote by Sir J. Davies and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      How great, how plentiful, how rich a dower!
    • (Can we date this quote by Wordsworth and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      Man in his primeval dower arrayed.


Related terms[edit]


See also[edit]


dower (third-person singular simple present dowers, present participle dowering, simple past and past participle dowered)

  1. To give a dower or dowry.
  2. To endow.


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Old French doeire, from Medieval Latin dōtārium; equivalent to dowen +‎ -er. Doublet of dowarye.


  • IPA(key): /duːˈɛːr(ə)/, /ˈduːər(ə)/


dower (plural dowers)

  1. A dower; a life estate of a male spouse's property.
  2. (rare) A gift given by the bride's family to the groom or his relatives; dowry.
  3. (rare, figuratively) A intrinsic or inherent property or attribute.
  4. (rare, astrology) A portion of the world under the domination of a particular star sign.


  • English: dower
  • Scots: dower