be·​stow | \ bi-ˈstō How to pronounce bestow (audio) , 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 How to pronounce bestowal (audio) , bē-​ \ noun
bestower \ bi-​ˈstō(-​ə)r How to pronounce bestower (audio) , 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

First up was a series of awards including one bestowed to Rod Laver (50 years after his second Grand Slam) and to this year's NJTL Foundation Honorees—four exemplary teens who have benefitted from NJTL programming. Vogue, "The USTA Foundation, Alec Baldwin, and More Kick Off the US Open With a Lively Fundraiser," 4 Sep. 2019 Cockrell was honored in 1967 with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor the university bestows on graduates. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje,, "Friends rushed to create SMU endowment while Lila Cockrell was still alive," 30 Aug. 2019 At one point, Darabont pulls out a prop rock hammer to donate and bestows it on the curator, who bursts into tears. Zachary Pincus-roth,, "The unlikely greatness of ‘The Shawshank Redemption,’ 25 years later," 29 Aug. 2019 Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Elite status: Recently rebranded from the Ascend to the Surpass, this mid-range card bestows Hilton Honors Gold status automatically. Eric Rosen, Condé Nast Traveler, "These 7 Hotel Credit Cards Give You Elite Status Just for Signing Up," 29 Aug. 2019 Until 1936, when the last of the residents died, the caretakers of Dixie Manor housed and fed these veterans, hosted rebel reunions, and bestowed new medals for old service. Kevin Waite, The New Republic, "California’s Forgotten Confederate History," 19 Aug. 2019 But bestowing the mother’s surname alone has yet to enter the collective consciousness as a viable alternative. Adrienne Brodeur, Glamour, "Our Children Have My Last Name. No, My Husband Doesn’t Mind," 13 Aug. 2019 Also, let yourself a wee bit off the hook, because being among the top ten researchers in any field doesn’t automatically bestow on anyone the ability to explain this field to children. Carolyn Hax, Detroit Free Press, "Is it cruel to give a child an unusual name?," 10 Aug. 2019 Also, let yourself a wee bit off the hook, because being among the top ten researchers in any field doesn't automatically bestow on anyone the ability to explain this field to children. Carolyn Hax,, "Carolyn Hax: Think before you shoot off your mouth cannons over unusual children’s names," 9 Aug. 2019

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

9 Sep 2019

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

formal : to give (something) as a gift or honor


be·​stow | \ bi-ˈstō How to pronounce bestow (audio) \
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

Comments on bestow

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readily or continually undergoing change

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