[ ri-wawrd ]
See synonyms for: rewardrewardedrewardingrewards on

  1. a sum of money offered for the detection or capture of a criminal, the recovery of lost or stolen property, etc.

  2. something given or received in return or recompense for service, merit, hardship, etc.

verb (used with object)
  1. to recompense or requite (a person or animal) for service, merit, achievement, etc.

  2. to make return for or requite (service, merit, etc.); recompense.

Origin of reward

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English (verb) rewarden originally, “to regard,” from Old North French rewarder “to look at,” variant of Old French reguarder; see origin at regard

synonym study For reward

2. Reward, prize, recompense imply something given in return for good. A reward is something given or done in return for good (or, more rarely, evil) received; it may refer to something abstract or concrete: a $50 reward; Virtue is its own reward. Prize refers to something concrete offered as a reward of merit, or to be contested for and given to the winner: to win a prize for an essay. A recompense is something given or done, whether as reward or punishment, for acts performed, services rendered, etc.; or it may be something given in compensation for loss or injury suffered, etc.: Renown was his principal recompense for years of hard work.

Other words for reward

Other words from reward

  • re·ward·a·ble, adjective
  • re·ward·a·ble·ness, noun
  • re·ward·a·bly, adverb
  • re·ward·er, noun
  • re·ward·less, adjective
  • mis·re·ward, verb (used with object)
  • o·ver·re·ward, verb
  • su·per·re·ward, verb (used with object), noun
  • un·re·ward·a·ble, adjective
  • un·re·ward·ed, adjective
  • well-re·ward·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use reward in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for reward


/ (rɪˈwɔːd) /

  1. something given or received in return for a deed or service rendered

  2. a sum of money offered, esp for help in finding a criminal or for the return of lost or stolen property

  1. profit or return

  2. something received in return for good or evil; deserts

  3. psychol any pleasant event that follows a response and therefore increases the likelihood of the response recurring in the future

  1. (tr) to give (something) to (someone), esp in gratitude for a service rendered; recompense

Origin of reward

C14: from Old Norman French rewarder to regard, from re- + warder to care for, guard, of Germanic origin; see ward

Derived forms of reward

  • rewardable, adjective
  • rewarder, noun
  • rewardless, adjective

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