c. 1400, "money, goods, or estate which a woman brings to her husband in marriage," from Anglo-French dowarie, Old French doaire (late 13c.) "dower, dowry, gift," from Medieval Latin dotarium, from Latin dotare "to endow, portion," from dos (genitive dotis) "marriage portion," from PIE *do-ti, from root *do- "to give." Compare dower.
dower, dowry. The two words, originally the same, are differentiated in ordinary literal use, dower being the widow's life share of her husband's property, & dowry the portion brought by a bride to her husband; but in poetic or other ornamental use dower has often the sense of dowry; & either is applied figuratively to talents &c. [Fowler]
updated on October 04, 2018