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noun, plural boun·ties.
  1. a premium or reward, especially one offered by a government: There was a bounty on his head. Some states offer a bounty for dead coyotes.
  2. a generous gift.
  3. generosity in giving.
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Origin of bounty

1200–50; Middle English b(o)unte < Anglo-French, Old French bonte, Old French bontet < Latin bonitāt- (stem of bonitās) goodness. See boon2, -ity
Related formsboun·ty·less, adjective


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Synonym study

1. See bonus.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

premium, prize, gift, largess, donation, reward, pay, gratuity, recompense, present, grant

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British Dictionary definitions for bounty


noun plural -ties
  1. generosity in giving to others; liberality
  2. a generous gift; something freely provided
  3. a payment made by a government, as, formerly, to a sailor on enlisting or to a soldier after a campaign
  4. any reward or premiuma bounty of 20p for every rat killed
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Word Origin

C13 (in the sense: goodness): from Old French bontet, from Latin bonitās goodness, from bonus good


  1. a British naval ship commanded by Captain William Bligh, which was on a scientific voyage in 1789 between Tahiti and the West Indies when her crew mutinied
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bounty


mid-13c., "generosity," from Old French bonte "goodness" (12c., Modern French bonté), from Latin bonitatem (nominative bonitas) "goodness," from bonus "good" (see bene-). Sense of "gift bestowed by a sovereign or the state" led to extended senses of "gratuity to a military recruit" (1702) and "reward for killing or taking a criminal or enemy" (1764).

I do ... promise, that there shall be paid ... the following several and respective premiums and Bounties for the prisoners and Scalps of the Enemy Indians that shall be taken or killed .... ["Papers of the Governor of Pennsylvania," 1764]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper