Definition of reward in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈwôrd/


1A thing given in recognition of one’s service, effort, or achievement: the holiday was a reward for 40 years' service with the company he’s reaping the rewards of his hard work and perseverance figurative the emotional rewards of being a parent
More example sentences
  • The system even provides students with computer games as rewards for effort and achievement.
  • Since June I have visited many bases and units and have heard from many of you as to how we can do our jobs better, be better recognised for effort and enjoy suitable reward for service.
  • At the same time, those who render meritorious service should be given due recognition with fitting rewards.
1.1A fair return for good or bad behavior: a slap on the face was his reward for his impudence
More example sentences
  • I know that working towards a PhD means sacrifices, and in my current position it feels that I have definitely sacrificed too much without getting the rewards in return.
  • These market-driven rewards are not fair or inevitable.
  • Their success is the fair reward for the long hours of practice.
1.2A sum offered for the detection of a criminal, the restoration of lost property, or the giving of information.
Example sentences
  • Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for such information.
  • Police are offering rewards for any information about the vigilante, the hostage, or the robber.
  • Last week police offered a R20000 reward for information leading to finding Liyabona.


[with object]
1Make a gift of something to (someone) in recognition of their services, efforts, or achievements: the engineer who supervised the work was rewarded with a bonus
More example sentences
  • He was rewarded with a title shot against the great Jack Dempsey in New York on September 14, 1923.
  • The three athletes were rewarded with a sight-seeing night out in London before travelling home the following day.
  • And all too often, boys are only rewarded for how well they do at sport rather than for anything else they do.
recompense, pay, remunerate, make something worth someone's while;
give an award to
1.1Show one’s appreciation of (an action or quality) by making a gift: an effective organization recognizes and rewards creativity and initiative
More example sentences
  • Therefore, I believe we have to reward investments in technology, we have to reward quality.
  • Packing was an occupation that rewarded innate qualities and paid little regard to status or civility.
  • Both see a system that doesn't reward quality, whether it's apples grown with Integrated Pest Management or tender lean beef.
1.2 (be rewarded) Receive what one deserves: their hard work was rewarded by the winning of a five-year contract
More example sentences
  • Watsonians' resurgence was finally rewarded by a thoroughly deserved try by centre Colin Gregor.
  • In my opinion this sort of arrogance deserves to be rewarded by denying parole.
  • There has been a lot of teamwork and trust and that deserves to be rewarded by having new investment.


go to one's (final) reward

Used euphemistically to indicate that someone has died.
Example sentences
  • I hope she does get another dog now that Papa's little Yorkie has gone to her reward or the house will bulge to the breaking point with boredom purchases.
  • I was talking to an old friend the other day, and for some reason she began reminiscing about her grandmother, who has long since gone to her reward.
  • Recently it was brought to my attention that the 121-year-old French-woman finally went to her reward.



Example sentences
  • Our army is (to use a Churchillism) sprawled in costly and rewardless occupation, its budget drained, its reserves raided, its stocks exhausted, rather than crouched and ready to spring at opportunity.
  • Within the genus Maxillaria, rewardless flowers were found in all the species of the alliances studied.
  • The only humans populating these rewardless grief-scapes are pornographic female figures.


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, variant of Old French reguard 'regard, heed', also an early sense of the English word.

  • This comes from a variant of Old French reguardregard, heed’, also an early sense of the English word ( compare guard and ward). The notion of payment, showing your regard, was also early; found as money offered for the capture of a criminal or for the return of lost property from the late 16th century

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·ward

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