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dowry

Definition of Dowry

(noun) The transfer of money or property to a woman’s husband when she gets married, typically given by her parents.

Dowry Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: dow·ry

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /dOU-ree/
  • British English – /dOU-uh-ree/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈdaʊri/
  • British English – /ˈdaʊəri/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: dowries
  • Indirect dowry is when the money or property is transferred to the husband’s family instead of the husband.
  • Dowry death and bride burning are forms of violence against women. Dowry death is when a woman is murdered or commits suicide because her husband or in-laws attempt to increase the size of her dowry. Sometimes dowry death occurs by bride burning (bride-burning), which is when a woman is killed by burning or commits suicide by setting herself on fire.
  • A dower refers to the amount of money or property a widow is granted after the death of her husband.
  • Variant spelling: dowery

Additional Information

Related Terms


Cite the Definition of Dowry

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “dowry.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved February 23, 2020 (https://sociologydictionary.org/dowry/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

dowry. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/dowry/

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

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “dowry.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed February 23, 2020. https://sociologydictionary.org/dowry/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“dowry.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2020. <https://sociologydictionary.org/dowry/>.