be·​stow | \bi-ˈstō, bē-\
bestowed; bestowing; bestows

Definition of bestow 

transitive verb

1 : to put to use : apply bestowed his spare time on study

2 : to put in a particular or appropriate place : stow bestowed in her car … by the chauffeur.— Frances Towers … the whole cargo was bestowed— R. L. Stevenson

3 : to provide with quarters : put up bestowed Clotilde in lodgings of her own.— Rayner Heppenstall

4 : to convey as a gift usually used with on or upon The university bestowed an honorary degree upon her.

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Other Words from bestow

bestowal \ bi-​ˈstō-​əl , bē-​ \ noun
bestower \ bi-​ˈstō(-​ə)r , bē-​ \ 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

That’s handy for the Pulitzer board, which has its own history of exclusion and bestowed only posthumous recognition on jazz legends like Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. Chris Martins, Los Angeles Magazine, "Why L.A. Can Be Proud of Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Prize," 18 Apr. 2018 Horseshoes Hung above all front door exteriors, bestowing good luck on every one who enters. Caroline Collins Mckenzie, Country Living, "Inside the Cracker Barrel Antiques Warehouse," 11 Apr. 2018 Aquarius is symbolized by the altruistic water bearer, who bestows life upon the land and reminds us that the flow of generosity sustains our most precious relationships. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's February 2018 Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 31 Jan. 2018 Brown said his office was also looking into what additional recognition Congress could bestow on Winters, who was the mother of three Navy officers. Colin Campbell,, "Congress to hold moment of silence on House floor for Capital Gazette shooting victims," 11 July 2018 The award is considered the highest honor bestowed to an exemplary member. Ruth Sowby Rands,, "On the Town: College organization awards student scholarships," 3 July 2018 The agency celebrates birthdays and large milestones and bestows a monthly MVP award including covered parking for the month and an extra half paid time off day. azcentral, "Top Companies to Work for in Arizona-Small Companies," 7 June 2018 The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow. Jeff Duncan,, "Congress finally finds something it can agree on: Steve Gleason," 6 June 2018 One proposal, would allot Arlington plots only to service members killed in action or bestowed the military’s highest award, the Medal of Honor. Laignee Barron, Time, "Arlington National Cemetery Is Almost Full and May Start Restricting Who Can Be Buried There," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bestow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bestow

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bestow

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

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Statistics for bestow

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bestow

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

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More Definitions for bestow



English Language Learners Definition of bestow

: to give (something) as a gift or honor


be·​stow | \bi-ˈstō \
bestowed; bestowing

Kids Definition of bestow

: to give as a gift or honor bestowing an award

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More from Merriam-Webster on bestow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bestow

Spanish Central: Translation of bestow

Nglish: Translation of bestow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bestow for Arabic Speakers

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