Definition of dowry
1 archaic, law : dower 1
2 law : the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage cultures in which marriage rarely occurs without dowry or bride-price
3 : a gift of money or property by a man to or for his bride
4 : a natural talent
Recent Examples of dowry from the Web
Alessandra (Alison Brie) has been sent to the convent while her father (Paul Reiser) tries to pull together a dowry that will most likely never happen.
Sister Alessandra (Alison Brie of AMC's Mad Men) longs for a romantic relationship with a man, but her father (Reiser), a benefactor of the convent, keeps her cooped up there to avoid raising a dowry.
Brie's character, the prim one, is hot to marry the local merchant but her father (Paul Reiser) can't come up with a proper dowry.
The dowry comes in many forms, including money, but some choose cattle.
The mayor is diverting public funds for a cathedral while proffering a large dowry to marry his 11-year-old daughter to a baron’s contemptible son.
The idea goes back to the time when dowries were all that women brought to the table.
When a girl is married, the family receives dowry — mainly goats, sheep, cows.
A Chinese wedding comes with lots of perks: cash from the guests and often a dowry from the bride’s family and a house from the groom’s.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dowry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
DOWRY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of dowry for English Language Learners
: money or property that a wife or wife's family gives to her husband when the wife and husband marry in some cultures
DOWRY Defined for Kids
Definition of dowry for Students
: property that in some cultures a woman gives to her husband in marriage
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up dowry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).