early 15c., divident, "that which serves as a barrier;"c. 1500, "act of dividing;" from Latin dividendum "thing to be divided," neuter gerundive of dividere "to force apart; to distribute" (see divide (v.)).
From late 15c. as "portion or share of anything to be divided." Sense of "sum to be divided into equal parts" is from 1620s, hence "portion of interest on a loan, stock, etc." Mathematical sense "number or quantity which is to be divided by another" is from 1540s (perhaps immediately from French dividende "a number divided by another"). Related: Dividends.
"to divide (up)," 1877, American English, originally a noun (1865), a slang shortening of dividend. The verb is primary now (the noun is not in "Webster's New World Dictionary"), leading some (such as "Webster's") to think the word is a slang alteration of divide. Related: Divvying. In early 20c. British slang the same word was a shortening of divine (adj.).
1540s, in mathematics, "that term of a fraction which indicates the value of the fractional unit" (commonly the number written below the numerator or dividend), from Medieval Latin denominator, agent noun from past-participle stem of denominare "to name," from de- "completely" (see de-) + nominare "to name," from nomen "name" (from PIE root *no-men- "name"). As "one who or that which gives a name," 1570s.
also lagnappe, "dividend, something extra, present or extra item given by a dealer to a customer to encourage patronage," 1849, from New Orleans creole, of unknown origin though much speculated upon. Originally a bit of something given by New Orleans shopkeepers to customers. Said to be from American Spanish la ñapa "the gift." Klein says this is in turn from Quechua yapa "something added, gift."
We picked up one excellent word — a word worth travelling to New Orleans to get; a nice, limber, expressive, handy word — 'lagniappe.' They pronounce it lanny-yap. It is Spanish — so they said. ["Mark Twain," "Life on the Mississippi," 1883]
late 14c., dispensacioun, "power to dispose of," also "act of dispensing or dealing out," also "a relaxation of the law in some particular case," from Old French despensacion (12c., Modern French dispensation) and directly from Latin dispensationem (nominative dispensatio) "management, charge," noun of action from past-participle stem of dispensare "disburse, administer, distribute (by weight)" (see dispense). Related: Dispensational.
Theological sense "method or scheme by which God has developed his purposes and revealed himself to man" (late 14c.) is from the use of the Latin word to translate Greek oikonomoia "office, method of administration" (see economy). Hence "particular period during which a religious system has prevailed" (1640s), with Patriarchal, Mosaic, Christian, etc. Also "a particular distribution (for good or ill) by divine providence" (1650s).
"money or other benefit given as a premium or extra pay to reward or encourage work," 1773, a phrase in "Stock Exchange Latin" [Weekley], taken as "a good thing," from Latin bonus "good" (adj.), perhaps originally "useful, efficient, working," from Proto-Italic *dw-eno- "good," probably a suffixed form of PIE root *deu- (2) "to do, perform; show favor."
The correct noun form would be bonum. Specifically as "extra dividend paid to shareholders from surplus profits" from 1808. In U.S. history the bonus army was the name given to the tens of thousands of World War I veterans and followers who marched on Washington, D.C., in 1932 demanding early redemption of their service bonus certificates (which carried a maximum value of $625).