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bounty (n.)

late 13c., "a gift, a reward, a favor bestowed freely;" c. 1300, "goodness, virtue; beauty; ; excellence; knightly prowess, strength, valor, chivalry," early 14c., "a helpful act, an act of generosity, a good deed," also "liberality in giving, generosity, munificence," from Anglo-French bountee, Old French bonte "goodness" (12c., Modern French bonté), from Latin bonitatem (nominative bonitas) "goodness," from bonus "good" (see bonus).

Sense of "gift bestowed by a sovereign or the state" led to extended senses of "premium or gratuity to a military recruit" (1702) and "reward for killing or taking a criminal or enemy" (1764) or dangerous animal (1847). Bounty-jumper "one who enlists in the military, collects the bounty, and flees without reporting for duty" is from the American Civil War (by 1864). Bounty-hunter is from 1893, American English, originally in reference to wild animals.

I do ... promise, that there shall be paid ... the following several and respective premiums and Bounties for the prisoners and Scalps of the Enemy Indians that shall be taken or killed .... ["Papers of the Governor of Pennsylvania," 1764]

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Definitions of bounty from WordNet
1
bounty (n.)
payment or reward (especially from a government) for acts such as catching criminals or killing predatory animals or enlisting in the military;
Synonyms: premium
bounty (n.)
the property of copious abundance;
Synonyms: amplitude / bountifulness
bounty (n.)
generosity evidenced by a willingness to give freely;
Synonyms: bounteousness
2
Bounty (n.)
a ship of the British navy; in 1789 part of the crew mutinied against their commander William Bligh and set him afloat in an open boat;
Synonyms: H.M.S. Bounty
From wordnet.princeton.edu