An endowment is a gift. It might be money given to an institution like a college. Or, an endowment might be a natural gift, say of a physical attribute or a talent. If you lack the endowment of musical talent, you could play the tambourine.

To endow means "to give or bequeath," and the background of the word endowment goes back to the 15th Century, where it was used to refer to money or property that is given to an institution. An example can be found in the National Endowment for the Arts, an organization dedicated to providing grants to fund artistic endeavors. Your natural endowments — speed, agility, endurance — make you an excellent soccer player. If only you could wake up in time for practice.

Definitions of endowment
  1. noun
    natural abilities or qualities
    synonyms: gift, natural endowment, talent
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    bent, hang, knack
    a special way of doing something
    flair, genius
    a natural talent
    raw talent
    powerfully impressive talent
    type of:
    natural ability
    ability that is inherited
  2. noun
    the capital that provides income for an institution
    synonyms: endowment fund
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    a church endowment
    an endowment for the singing of Masses
    type of:
    wealth in the form of money or property owned by a person or business and human resources of economic value
  3. noun
    the act of endowing with a permanent source of income
    “his generous endowment of the laboratory came just in the nick of time”
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    type of:
    gift, giving
    the act of giving
Word Family
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