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The distribution of current or accumulated earnings to the shareholders of a corporation pro rata based on the number of shares owned. Dividends are usually issued in cash. However, they may be issued in the form of stock or property. The dividend on preferred shares is generally a fixed amount; however, on common shares the dividend varies depending on such things as the earnings and available cash of the corporation as well as future plans for the acquisition of property and equipment by the corporation.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. a portion of profit, usually based on the number of shares of stock in a corporation and the rate of distribution approved by the Board of Directors or management, that is paid to shareholders for each share they own. Dividends are not always paid in money, but can be paid in shares of stock, known as a stock dividend. (See: corporation, shareholder)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


1 the income return received by a shareholder in respect of his investment. Unlike interest, which is payable irrespective of whether the company has made profits or not, dividends are payable only if so declared by the directors and are payable only out of profits (whether current profits or profits earned in previous years) available for the purpose. If there are no available profits there can be no payment of a dividend. Dividends must be declared by the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING on the recommendation of the directors or by the directors themselves between such meetings.
2 the proportion of an insolvent estate payable to the creditors.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

DIVIDEND. A portion of the principal, or profits, divided among several owners of a thing.
     2. The term is usually applied to the division of the profits arising out of bank or other stocks; or to the division, among the creditors, of the elects of an insolvent estate.
     3. In another sense, according to some old authorities, it signifies one part of an indenture. T. L.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
On the eighteenth the directors meet, and, instead of the customary dividend, a double dividend will be declared."
All you have to do is buy, buy, buy, and keep on buying to the last stroke, when the directors declare the double dividend. Ward Valley will jump so that it won't be feasible to buy after that."
"Now about that double dividend on the eighteenth-" John Dowsett drew a slip of paper from his note-book and adjusted his glasses.
And on the eighteenth, when that dividend was declared, he chuckled at the confusion that would inevitably descend upon the men with the sharpened shears waiting to trim him--him, Burning Daylight.
Consider what we have done to get our rents in Ireland and Scotland, and our dividends in Egypt, if you have already forgotten my photographs and their lesson in our atrocities at home.
I'll stop in the old place, and I'll serve under Wakem, and I'll serve him like an honest man; there's no Tulliver but what's honest, mind that, Tom,"--here his voice rose,--"they'll have it to throw up against me as I paid a dividend, but it wasn't my fault; it was because there's raskills in the world.
A dividend increase may seem like a good decision at first, based on the information available to the manager at the time, but it may turn out to be less wise as time goes by and new information comes in.
Subsections 112(2.1) through (2.6) and 258(3) through (5) of the Act are the principal charging provisions for the TPS rules and convert what would otherwise be tax-exempt dividends into taxable dividends.
surprised shareholders, analysts, and other industry vendors with a late Christmas gift: dividends. Redmond announced that shareholders of record February 21 will receive a dividend of--hold on to your hat--eight cents per share on March 7.
At first glance, dividends would appear to be diminishing in importance among U.S.
The bank also declared the following dividends on non-cumulative first preferred shares - Series W, dividend No 28 of USD0.30625 a share, Series AA, dividend No 24 of USD0.278125 a share, Series AB, dividend No 22 of USD0.29375 a share, Series AC, dividend No 21 of USD0.2875 a share, Series AD, dividend No 20 and Series AE, dividend No 20 of USD0.28125 a share.