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Individual share of earnings distributed among stockholders of a corporation or company in proportion to their holdings. Usually paid in cash, dividends may also be distributed in the form of additional shares of stock. Preferred stockholders receive a preferential dividend, usually at a fixed rate; common stockholders get a portion of what remains after payment of the dividends on preferred stock.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on dividend, visit Britannica.com.