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[dou-ree] /ˈdaʊ ri/
noun, plural dowries.
Also, dower. the money, goods, or estate that a wife brings to her husband at marriage.
Archaic. a widow's dower.
a natural gift, endowment, talent, etc.
Also, dowery.
Origin of dowry
1250-1300; Middle English dowerie < Anglo-French douarie < Medieval Latin dōtārium. See dot2, -ary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dowry
  • She says that three goats will be an acceptable dowry, which isn't that bad.
  • Cows are a typical bridal dowry in the Maasai culture.
  • Equipped with a few supplies, a small dowry and a rather ugly ring left by her mysterious father, she sets out.
  • No discussion thus far of a dowry.
  • Portia—independent, witty and pragmatic—knows her many suitors really just want her enormous dowry.
  • He says he's profitted from Bangalore's boom, paying for his sister's dowry and a small house for his parents.
  • Although her father didn't have the 10000-mark dowry in ready cash, he owned enough castles to serve as collateral.
  • In France, the customary prenuptial derives from the dowry, first recorded in the ninth century.
  • In civil-law countries the dowry is an important form of property.
  • The applicants will certainly not be bringing a rich dowry.
British Dictionary definitions for dowry


noun (pl) -ries
the money or property brought by a woman to her husband at marriage
(esp formerly) a gift made by a man to his bride or her parents
(Christianity) a sum of money required on entering certain orders of nuns
a natural talent or gift
(obsolete) a widow's dower
Word Origin
C14: from Anglo-French douarie, from Medieval Latin dōtārium; see dower
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dowry

early 14c., from Anglo-French dowarie, Old French doaire (late 13c.) "dower, dowry, gift," from Medieval Latin dotarium, from Latin dotare "to endow, portion," from dos (genitive dotis) "marriage portion," from PIE *do-ti (cf. Sanskrit dadati, Greek didonai, Old Church Slavonic dati, Lithuanian duoti, Armenian tam, all meaning "to give"), from root *do- "to give." Related to Latin donum "a giving, gift;" dare "to give" (see date (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dowry in Culture

dowry definition

Money, property, or material goods that a bride's family gives to the bridegroom or his family at the time of the wedding. In many cultures, the dowry not only helps to cement the relationship between the bride's and groom's families but also serves to reinforce traditional family roles and gender roles.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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dowry in the Bible

(mohar; i.e., price paid for a wife, Gen. 34:12; Ex. 22:17; 1 Sam. 18:25), a nuptial present; some gift, as a sum of money, which the bridegroom offers to the father of his bride as a satisfaction before he can receive her. Jacob had no dowry to give for his wife, but he gave his services (Gen. 29:18; 30:20; 34:12).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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