noun (1)
bow·​er | \ ˈbau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce bower (audio) \

Definition of bower

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : an attractive dwelling or retreat
2 : a lady's private apartment in a medieval hall or castle
3 : a shelter (as in a garden) made with tree boughs or vines twined together : arbor


bowered; bowering; bowers

Definition of bower (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: embower, enclose tree-bowered streets


noun (2)

Definition of bower (Entry 3 of 3)

nautical : an anchor carried at the bow of a ship

Did you know?

Bower derives from Old English būr, meaning "dwelling,"and was originally used of attractive homes or retreats, especially rustic cottages. In the Middle Ages, bower came to refer to a lady's personal hideaway within a medieval castle or hall—that is, her private apartment. The more familiar "arbor" sense combines the pastoral beauty of a rustic retreat with the privacy of a personal apartment. Although its tranquil modern meaning belies it, bower is distantly related to the far more roughshod bowery, which has historically been used as the name of a sleazy district in New York City. The Bowery got its name from a Dutch term for a dwelling or farm that shares a common ancestor with the terms that gave rise to "bower."

Examples of bower in a Sentence

Verb bowered by a canopy of grapevines, we enjoyed a serene and very private picnic

First Known Use of bower

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1599, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1652, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bower

Noun (1) and Verb

Middle English bour dwelling, from Old English būr; akin to Old English & Old High German būan to dwell, Old English bēon to be — more at be

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The first known use of bower was before the 12th century

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bower actinidia

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bower.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for bower


bow·​er | \ ˈbau̇-ər How to pronounce bower (audio) \

Kids Definition of bower

: a shelter in a garden made of boughs of trees or vines

More from Merriam-Webster on bower

Nglish: Translation of bower for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bower for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about bower


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