dow·ry | \ˈdau̇(-ə)-rē \
plural dowries

Definition of dowry 

1 archaic, law : dower sense 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

Examples of dowry in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The problem is not just specific customs, such as the payment of dowries or living with in-laws. The Economist, "India’s gender gap is closing in some respects, but remains vast," 15 Mar. 2018 On a recent Sunday afternoon, a younger cousin asked Maduk to help broker a dowry agreement between his family and his girlfriend’s family. Deirdre Fernandes,, "An education in hope," 7 July 2018 Brides come with huge gifts, dowries, that were once the only property that a woman could call her own. A.a. Gill, A-LIST, "Fraught, But It Counts," 4 July 2018 Because when you're married off, the [husbands] pay dowry. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "ASOS Made in Kenya Collection Is the Definition of Cultural Appreciation," 18 Apr. 2018 In 1695, as recorded in a pamphlet with the title of The Counterfeit Bridegroom, a lady of Southwark advertised a dowry of £200 for any eligible suitor for her daughter. Longreads, "The Roaring Girls of Queer London," 8 May 2018 Instead of our parents or clergy or nobility doing the arranging, agency is ceded to algorithms, offering our online data as dowry. Richard Morgan,, "Facebook doesn't care if you find love — it just wants to be your ‘click-bae’," 3 May 2018 In India, there is the opposite effect: Because brides are scarce, families are under less pressure to save for expensive dowries. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "TOO MANY MEN," 18 Apr. 2018 Women feel a lot of pressure to marry young to get a dowry for the family. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "ASOS Made in Kenya Collection Is the Definition of Cultural Appreciation," 18 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of dowry

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dowry

Middle English dowarie, from Anglo-French, alteration of dower, douaire — more at dower

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Dictionary Entries near dowry

do/work wonders


do wrong





Statistics for dowry

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for dowry

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

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More Definitions for dowry



English Language Learners Definition of dowry

: money or property that a wife or wife's family gives to her husband when the wife and husband marry in some cultures


dow·ry | \ˈdau̇-rē \
plural dowries

Kids Definition of dowry

: property that in some cultures a woman gives to her husband in marriage

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Comments on dowry

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lying above or upon

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