dow·​ry | \ ˈdau̇(-ə)-rē How to pronounce dowry (audio) \
plural dowries

Definition of dowry

1 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
2 : a natural talent or gift Beauty should be the dowry of every man and woman, as invariably as sensation; but it is rare.— Ralph Waldo Emerson
3 archaic, law : dower sense 1

Examples of dowry in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In many parts of rural Afghanistan and among the country’s poorest, girls are often married off at puberty, sometimes earlier, and their families receive a dowry. Jamey Keaten,, 31 Mar. 2022 It’s a resolve that perhaps comes too late in a prickly period of negotiation between two mutually wary households, as matters of dowry, obligation and family honor are all considered ahead of the happiness of the two children in question. Guy Lodge, Variety, 21 Nov. 2021 When the couple married, Kumar accepted a dowry of 720 grams of gold, a Suzuki sedan and 500,000 rupees (about $6,700) in cash. Rhea Mogul And Esha Mitra, CNN, 20 Nov. 2021 The opposite was true of Zaza, who had a vast dowry. Lara Feigel, The New Republic, 26 Nov. 2021 The event marks the end of a long and tumultuous road to the altar that will now see Mako forgo her status as a royal, reject her $1.4 million dowry, and likely move to New York to begin a new life as a normal citizen. Liam Hess, Vogue, 26 Oct. 2021 Then a dispute over land — which was to go to de Carrouges as part of a dowry after wedding a noble’s daughter, Marguerite de Thibouville (Killing Eve‘s Jodie Comer) — and some political shenanigans caused a rift in their friendship. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 13 Oct. 2021 First to be rebuffed is construction worker Iman (Muhammad Khan), followed by Mang Dodi (Toto St. Radik), a married man at least three times Yuni’s age who’s prepared to pay a $3,500 dowry to secure a second wife. Richard Kuipers, Variety, 14 Sep. 2021 Over time, the practice became associated with violence against women linked to the coercion of dowry from her family. Amy Sood, CNN, 31 July 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of dowry

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for dowry

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near dowry

do wrong



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Last Updated

8 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dowry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for dowry


dow·​ry | \ ˈdau̇-rē How to pronounce dowry (audio) \
plural dowries

Kids Definition of dowry

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


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