bride price

(noun) Money or property given to the family of the bride either by the groom or on his behalf.

Example: Bride prices are still paid in parts of Papua New Guinea which was famously studied by Bronislaw Malinowski (1884–1942).

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: bride prices
  • This is a simplified definition of a vast continuum of societal and cultural practices.
  • Bride price is viewed a compensating the bride’s family for the loss of her economic value in providing goods and services and a reflection of the grooms ability to provide for the bride and their offspring.
  • In contrast to bride price, a dowry is the transfer of money or property to a woman’s husband from her parents when she gets married.
  • Variant forms:
    • bride-price
    • brideprice
  • Also called:
    • bride gift (bride-gift, bridegift)
    • bride token
    • bride wealth (bride-wealth, bridewealth)
    • marriage payment
    • progeny price
    • reverse dowry (reverse-dowry)
  • Bride price used in a sentence: The people of Papua New Guinea use pigs to pay a bride price.

Additional Information:

Related Terms:


Works Consulted

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (


How to Cite the Definition of Bride Price

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “bride price.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 27, 2019 (

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

bride price. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “bride price.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 27, 2019.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“bride price.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 27 Jun. 2019. <>.