Definition of bestow in English:



  • 1 Confer or present (an honour, right, or gift)

    ‘the office was bestowed on him by the monarch of this realm’
    • ‘Warmest congratulations to Jarlath on this very special honour which is being bestowed on him this weekend.’
    • ‘At the time this honour had only been bestowed on 20 leading obstetricians in the world.’
    • ‘I would first like to thank the University for the honour it has bestowed upon me today.’
    • ‘We should count our blessings every day and take pleasure in the miraculous gifts bestowed upon us.’
    • ‘It is a gift, bestowed on relatively few people, and certainly not something to be mandated.’
    • ‘Lavish gifts are bestowed upon visitors, guests, and distant cousins alike.’
    • ‘Too many honours have been bestowed on him, surely he should say enough is enough.’
    • ‘Both men were well worthy of the honour bestowed on them and should be an example to others to put in the same effort in their native place.’
    • ‘These are both very prestigious honours bestowed upon someone who had never even seen pole vault five years ago.’
    • ‘Many honours have been bestowed on this outstanding algebraist.’
    • ‘These awaken our appreciation for all the gifts God has bestowed upon us and remind us of how much God loves us.’
    • ‘Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.’
    • ‘On accepting the honour bestowed on her by the Mayo Society, Mary received a standing ovation by all in attendance.’
    • ‘Johnny is a complex man, working to come to terms with the haunting gift that has been bestowed upon him.’
    • ‘This is the first time this honour has been bestowed on a Councillor from the area.’
    • ‘It was the greatest honour that could be bestowed on her and she was very proud to be mayor.’
    • ‘These were the only honours bestowed on this legendary maestro during his lifetime.’
    • ‘Her story deeply touches me, and I think she fully deserves the various titles and honours bestowed upon her.’
    • ‘The Lord Lieutenant High Honour is bestowed once a year by the Lord Lieutenant of each county.’
    • ‘They are gifts bestowed on us at milestone birthdays and in retirement.’
    confer on, present to, award to, give, grant, vouchsafe, accord to, afford to
    vest in, invest in
    bequeath to, donate to
    allot to, assign to, consign to, apportion to, distribute to, impart to, entrust to, commit to
    lavish on, heap on
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic Put (something) in a specified place.
      ‘stooping to bestow the presents into eager hands’
      • ‘She is about to cast them away, to bestow them onto some unsuspecting pedestrian far below.’
      • ‘Sea gulls screech over head, their noiseless chatter bestowing fresh fish onto the heads of tourists who know not how to treat a gull.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘use for, devote to’): from be- (as an intensifier) + Old English stōw ‘place’.