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

  • transitive v. To present as a gift or an honor; confer: bestowed high praise on the winners.
  • transitive v. To apply; use: "On Hester Prynne's story . . . I bestowed much thought” ( Nathaniel Hawthorne).
  • transitive v. To place or stow: "He bestowed [the money]in his pockets with feigned composure” ( James Joyce).
  • transitive v. To store or house.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To lay up in store; deposit for safe keeping; stow; place.
  • v. To lodge, or find quarters for; provide with accommodation.
  • v. To dispose of.
  • v. To give; confer; impart gratuitously; present something to someone as a gift or honour.
  • v. To give in marriage.
  • v. To apply; make use of; use; employ.
  • v. To behave or deport.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To lay up in store; to deposit for safe keeping; to stow; to place; to put.
  • transitive v. To use; to apply; to devote, as time or strength in some occupation.
  • transitive v. To expend, as money.
  • transitive v. To give or confer; to impart; -- with on or upon.
  • transitive v. To give in marriage.
  • transitive v. To demean; to conduct; to behave; -- followed by a reflexive pronoun.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lay up in store; deposit for safe keeping; stow; place.
  • To lodge, or find quarters for; provide with accommodation.
  • To dispose of.
  • To give; confer; impart gratuitously: followed by on or upon before the recipient: as, to bestow praise or blame impartially.
  • To give in marriage.
  • To apply; make use of; use; employ.
  • To behave or deport.
  • Synonyms Confer, Grant, etc. See give.

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

  • v. bestow a quality on
  • v. give as a gift
  • v. present


Middle English bistowen : bi-, be- + stowen, to place; see stow.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English bestowen, bistowen, equivalent to be- (“on, over, about”) +‎ stow. (Wiktionary)


  • _bestow upon others_, and which we can bestow _liberally_ because by this very action we open the way for still greater supplies to flow in.

    The Hidden Power And Other Papers upon Mental Science

  • Let her work for you in return for this; she don't ask alms, she only wants employment and a little kindness, and the best charity we can bestow is to see that she has both.

    An Old-Fashioned Girl

  • But the idea of relinquishing those delightful amusements and flattering attentions, which wealth and equipage bestow, is painful.

    The Coquette, or, The History of Eliza Wharton: A Novel Founded on Fact

  • That's a title we bestow on athletes in any sport who like to get bloody.

    Enough With the Pillow Fights

  • Would not viewing an individual's sexual orientation and behaviors as unique to that individual, rather than typical of a group identity, get rid of the sense of rigidity and exclusion that labels bestow?

    Yolanda Reid Chassiakos: Post-Label Sexuality: The Time Has Come

  • The child put her left hand upon her father's forehead and held the right above the heads of the others, "As the Goddess of Mercy has given me her favour, so I in her name bestow on you the love of heaven.

    A Chinese Wonder Book

  • I make not any doubt, but almes-deedes and prayers, are very mighty; and prevailing meanes, to appease heavens anger for some sinnes committed; but if such as bestow them, did either see or know, to whom they give them: they would more warily keepe them, or else cast them before Swine, in regard they are altogether so unworthy of them.

    The Decameron

  • "How much willow ware have I got to 'bestow' on you?" inquired the

    The Harvester

  • Selborne "few or no writers on Natural History, save Mr. Gosse and poor Mr. Edward Forbes, have had the power of bringing out the human side of science, and giving to seemingly dry disquisitions ... that living and personal interest, to bestow which is generally the special function of the poet."

    More Letters of Charles Darwin — Volume 2

  • To say it another way, our egalitarian society does not "bestow" freedom upon you.

    Vail Daily - Top Stories


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  • Wouldn't you like to get away?
    Bestowing the memory of good and evil
    On the ones you left behind
    The heartless swine

    (Le pastie de la Bourgeoisie, by Belle and Sebastian)

    July 28, 2008