dow·​ry ˈdau̇(-ə)-rē How to pronounce dowry (audio)
plural dowries
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
: 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
archaic, law : dower sense 1

Examples of dowry in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Cameras followed them for milestone moments, including when David struggled to pay Annie's dowry in Thailand. Esme Mazzeo, Peoplemag, 6 July 2024 In the developing world, women suffer from specific forms of violence because of traditional social practices such as requiring dowries, honor killing, and genital mutilation. Amitav Acharya, Foreign Affairs, 21 June 2022 Her parents were a Russian count and a merchant’s daughter whose massive dowry elevated her to the aristocracy. E.r. Zarevich, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Mar. 2024 Nannina was betrothed at the age of 13 for a large dowry and brought to her husband’s house five years later. Pragya Agarwal, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for dowry 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dowry.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near dowry

Cite this Entry

“Dowry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


dow·​ry ˈdau̇(ə)r-ē How to pronounce dowry (audio)
plural dowries
: the property that a woman brings to her husband in marriage in some cultures
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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