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See more synonyms for reward on Thesaurus.com
  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.
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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.
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Origin of reward

1275–1325; (v.) Middle English rewarden orig., to regard < Old North French rewarder to look at, variant of Old French reguarder; (noun) Middle English: orig., regard < Anglo-French, Old North French, variant of Old French reguard, derivative of reguarder; see regard
Related formsre·ward·a·ble, adjectivere·ward·a·ble·ness, nounre·ward·a·bly, adverbre·ward·er, nounre·ward·less, adjectivemis·re·ward, verb (used with object)o·ver·re·ward, verbsu·per·re·ward, verb (used with object), nounun·re·ward·a·ble, adjectiveun·re·ward·ed, adjectivewell-re·ward·ed, adjective

Synonyms for reward

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Synonym study

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

Related Words for unrewarded

due, gratuitous, honorary, volunteer, contributed, unindemnified, unrewarded, unrecompensed, unremunerated, voluntary, uncompensated

Examples from the Web for unrewarded

Historical Examples of unrewarded

  • Had they ever reflected on the heroism of women, on their self-denying, unrewarded labour?

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • For several minutes as they rushed from room to room the hunt was unrewarded.

  • The wives of the farm are the unnamed, unrewarded heroines of the border.

  • Then she went into some of the other class rooms, but her search was unrewarded.

  • There must have been a loss of economic power so that labor was unrewarded.


    William Graham Sumner

British Dictionary definitions for unrewarded


  1. not having received any reward or advantages
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  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
  3. profit or return
  4. something received in return for good or evil; deserts
  5. psychol any pleasant event that follows a response and therefore increases the likelihood of the response recurring in the future
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  1. (tr) to give (something) to (someone), esp in gratitude for a service rendered; recompense
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Derived Formsrewardable, adjectiverewarder, nounrewardless, adjective

Word Origin for reward

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



mid-14c., "a regarding, heeding, observation," from Anglo-French and Old North French reward, back-formation from rewarder (see reward (v.)). Meaning "repayment for some service" is from late 14c. Sense of "sum of money in exchange for capture" is from 1590s.

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c.1300 "to grant, bestow;" early 14c. "to give as compensation," from Old North French rewarder "to regard, reward," variant of Old French regarder "take notice of, regard, watch over," from re-, intensive prefix (see re-), + garder "look, heed, watch" (see guard (v.)). Originally any form of requital. A doublet of regard. Related: Rewarded; rewarding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

unrewarded in Medicine


  1. The return for the performance of a behavior that is desired; a positive reinforcement.
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Related formsre•ward v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.