a. A spouse's legal entitlement, while alive, to a share of a deceased spouse's real estate or other property.
b. The part or interest of a deceased man's real estate formerly allotted by law to his widow for her lifetime.
2. A natural endowment or gift; a dowry.
tr.v. dow·ered, dow·er·ing, dow·ers
To give a dower to; endow.
[Middle English douere, from Old French douaire, from Medieval Latin dōtārium, dōārium, from Latin dōs, dōt-, dowry; see dō- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.