Definitions

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

  • n. Liberality in giving.
  • n. Something that is given liberally.
  • n. A reward, inducement, or payment, especially one given by a government for acts deemed beneficial to the state, such as killing predatory animals, growing certain crops, starting certain industries, or enlisting for military service.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. generosity
  • n. something given liberally
  • n. A reward for some specific act, especially one given by a government or authority
  • n. formerly, money paid to volunteers for serving in the British navy in time of war

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Goodness, kindness; virtue; worth.
  • n. Liberality in bestowing gifts or favors; gracious or liberal giving; generosity; munificence.
  • n. That which is given generously or liberally.
  • n. A premium offered or given to induce men to enlist into the public service; or to encourage any branch of industry, as husbandry or manufactures.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Goodness; virtue.
  • n. Liberality in bestowing gifts and favors; generosity; munificence.
  • n. A favor bestowed with a benevolent disposition; that which is given bounteously; a free gift: as, “thy morning bounties,”
  • n. A premium or reward; specifically, a premium offered by a government to induce men to enlist into the public service, or to encourage some branch of industry, as husbandry, manufactures, or commerce.

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

  • n. payment or reward (especially from a government) for acts such as catching criminals or killing predatory animals or enlisting in the military
  • n. generosity evidenced by a willingness to give freely
  • n. a ship of the British navy; in 1789 part of the crew mutinied against their commander William Bligh and set him afloat in an open boat
  • n. the property of copious abundance

Etymologies

Middle English bounte, from Old French bonte, from Latin bonitās, goodness, from bonus, good; see deu-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Anglo-Norman bounté, Old French bonté ("goodness") (French: bonté), from Latin bonitātem, accusative singular of bonitās ("goodness"), from bonus ("good"). (Wiktionary)

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