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.


  1. not having received any reward or advantages


  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


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

n.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. v.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. n.

  1. The return for the performance of a behavior that is desired; a positive reinforcement.

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