be·​stow bi-ˈstō How to pronounce bestow (audio)
bestowed; bestowing; bestows

transitive verb

: to put to use : apply
bestowed his spare time on study
: to put in a particular or appropriate place : stow
bestowed in her car … by the chauffeur.Frances Towers
… the whole cargo was bestowedR. L. Stevenson
: to provide with quarters : put up
bestowed Clotilde in lodgings of her own.Rayner Heppenstall
: to convey as a gift
usually used with on or upon
The university bestowed an honorary degree upon her.
bestowal noun
bestower noun
Choose the Right Synonym for bestow

give, present, donate, bestow, confer, afford mean to convey to another as a possession.

give, the general term, is applicable to any passing over of anything by any means.

give alms
gave her a ride on a pony
give my love to your mother

present carries a note of formality and ceremony.

present an award

donate is likely to imply a publicized giving (as to charity).

donate a piano to the orphanage

bestow implies the conveying of something as a gift and may suggest condescension on the part of the giver.

bestow unwanted advice

confer implies a gracious giving (as of a favor or honor).

confer an honorary degree

afford implies a giving or bestowing usually as a natural or legitimate consequence of the character of the giver.

the trees afford shade
a development that affords us some hope

Examples of bestow in a Sentence

The university bestowed on her an honorary degree. bestowed a new car on their son for graduation
Recent Examples on the Web Washington — After a group of House Republicans proposed renaming Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia after former President Donald Trump, a few of their Democratic colleagues responded by introducing their own bill that would bestow his name on a federal prison. Caitlin Yilek, CBS News, 5 Apr. 2024 James wasn’t the only Stuart monarch to bestow favor on George. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for bestow 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bestow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from be- + stowe place — more at stow

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bestow was in the 14th century

Cite this Entry

“Bestow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


be·​stow bi-ˈstō How to pronounce bestow (audio)
: to present as a gift
bestowal noun
bestower noun

More from Merriam-Webster on bestow

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