Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A shaded, leafy recess; an arbor.
  • n. A woman's private chamber in a medieval castle; a boudoir.
  • n. A rustic cottage; a country retreat.
  • transitive v. To enclose in or as if in a bower; embower.
  • n. Nautical An anchor carried at the bow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A woman's bedroom or private apartments, especially in a medieval castle.
  • n. A dwelling; a picturesque country cottage, especially one that is used as a retreat.
  • n. A shady, leafy shelter or recess in a garden or woods.
  • n. A large structure made of grass and bright objects, used by the bower bird during courtship displays.
  • n. A peasant; a farmer.
  • n. Either of the two highest trumps in euchre.
  • n. A type of ship's anchor, carried at the bow.
  • n. A young hawk, when it begins to leave the nest.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who bows or bends.
  • n. An anchor carried at the bow of a ship.
  • n. A muscle that bends a limb, esp. the arm.
  • n. One of the two highest cards in the pack commonly used in the game of euchre.
  • n. Anciently, a chamber; a lodging room; esp., a lady's private apartment.
  • n. A rustic cottage or abode; poetically, an attractive abode or retreat.
  • n. A shelter or covered place in a garden, made with boughs of trees or vines, etc., twined together; an arbor; a shady recess.
  • n. A young hawk, when it begins to leave the nest.
  • intransitive v. To lodge.
  • transitive v. To embower; to inclose.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To inclose in a bower, or as in a bower; embower; inclose.
  • To take shelter; lodge.
  • n. A dwelling or habitation; particularly, a cottage; an unpretentious residence; a rustic abode.
  • n. An inner room; any room in a house except the hall or public room; hence, a bedchamber.
  • n. Especially, a lady's private chamber; a boudoir.
  • n. A shelter made with boughs or twining plants; an arbor; a shady recess.
  • n. One who or that which bows or bends; specifically, a muscle that bends the joints.
  • n. An anchor carried at the bow of a ship.
  • n. In falconry, a young hawk when it begins to leave the nest and to clamber on the boughs. Also called bowess, bowet.
  • n. A peasant; a farmer.
  • n. In euchre, one of the two highest cards, or, if the joker is used, the second or third highest.
  • n. A bow-maker; a bowyer.
  • n. One who plays with a bow on a violin or other stringed instrument.
  • n. A person who rents or leases the dairy stock on a farm, together with pasture and fodder for them, and makes what he can from their produce, the cultivation of the farm still remaining with the farmer or proprietor.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. enclose in a bower
  • n. a framework that supports climbing plants

Etymologies

Middle English bour, a dwelling, from Old English būr; see bheuə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English būr, from Proto-Germanic *būraz. Cognate with German Bauer ("birdcage"), Old Norse búr (Danish bur, Swedish bur ("cage")). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English boueer, from Old English būr, ġebūr ("freeholder of the lowest class, peasant, farmer") and Middle Dutch bouwer ("farmer, builder, peasant"); both from Proto-Germanic *būraz (“dweller”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰōw- (“to dwell”). Cognate with German Bauer ("peasant, builder"), Dutch boer, buur, and Albanian burrë ("man, husband"). See boor, neighbor. (Wiktionary)
From German Bauer. (Wiktionary)
From the bow of a ship (Wiktionary)
From bough, compare brancher. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Technically, a bower is a depression in the earth similar to, but smaller than a valley.

    William Blake and the Study of Virtual Space: Adapting 'The Crystal Cabinet' to a New Medium

  • When I say my own circle, I mean by it my three plantations, viz., my castle, my country seat, which I called my bower, and my enclosure in the woods.

    Robinson Crusoe

  • Yet I entertained such an abhorrence of the savage wretches that I have been speaking of, and of the wretched, inhuman custom of their devouring and eating one another up, that I continued pensive and sad, and kept close within my own circle for almost two years after this: when I say my own circle, I mean by it my three plantations - viz. my castle, my country seat (which I called my bower), and my enclosure in the woods: nor did I look after this for any other use than an enclosure for my goats; for the aversion which nature gave me to these hellish wretches was such, that I was as fearful of seeing them as of seeing the devil himself.

    Robinson Crusoe

  • "Oh, no, Dorry, you mustn't be hungry till the bower is ready!" cried the little girls, alarmed, for Dorry was apt to be disconsolate if he was kept waiting for his meals.

    What Katy Did: A Story

  • a symbol of rampant female sexuality, the bower is a ubiquitous image throughout the eighteenth-century, appearing in texts ranging from Thompson's The

    'Pleasure is now, and ought to be, your business': Stealing Sexuality in Jane Austen's _Juvenilia_

  • Something happened to the "bower" -- an unromantic workman mowed it down -- but by this time there was a little house there which Mrs. Clemens had built, just for the children.

    The Boys' Life of Mark Twain

  • As Sheyrena had gradually come to understand, the distinction between the bower and the harem was that the bower was a harem of one.

    Elvenblood

  • Whither they went, or how they bestowed their time that evening, the Spaniards said they did not know; but it seems they wandered about the country part of the night, and them lying down in the place which I used to call my bower, they were weary and overslept themselves.

    The Further Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe

  • Another strange Australian bird is called the bower-bird, because when a bower-bird wishes to go courting he builds in the Bush a little pavilion, and adorns it with all the gay, bright objects he can -- bits of rag or metal, feathers from other birds, coloured stones and flowers.

    Peeps At Many Lands: Australia

  • At 11 P.M. parted our warp, my uneasiness at this was not a little however the S.B. * (* Small bower, that is the port bower.) a little relieved by best bower held on at night ...

    The Logbooks of the Lady Nelson With the journal of her first commander Lieutenant James Grant

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  • "Who knows what you've spoken to the darkness, in the bitter watches of the night... when all your life seems to shrink, the walls of your bower closing in about you... a hutch to trammel some wild thing in. So fair. So cold. Like a morning of pale spring still clinging to winter's chill." (Grima, The Two Towers)

    December 12, 2008


  • A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
    Its loveliness increases; it will never
    Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
    A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
    Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.


    - J.Keats

    December 12, 2008

  • In castle architecture, the lady's apartment or suite; a withdrawing room or sleeping apartment.

    August 24, 2008