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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 periodicals archive ?
Contrary to the interests of the principals (shareholders), management (agents) often have a tendency to keep divident payments low and to increase free cash flow beyond the optimum point, using the retained resources to expand and to diversify.
26, 1995, at D1 (reporting that two RJR shareholders, Carl Icahn and Bennett LeBow, had begun a proxy battle to replace the company's board of directors and then spin off the Nabisco food unit, with a "substantial divident" inuring to the shareholders); Dissident Holders Seek Control of Tesoro, N.Y Times, Dec.
The amount treated as a divident is not deductible by the issuer, but for purposes of the dividends-received deduction will be treated as dividend to a corporate holder.
We focus on two dependent variables, the percentage change in the Pe ratio (PE) and the percentage change in the market value of equity (MV), and examine whether these variables are related to changes in the value of corporate land holdings, ownership structure, risk, earnings growth, dividend payout, divident growth, and the use of special reserves.
decides to pump that Peace Divident back into refurbishing its educational infrastructure, the education system will also be amazing
The tax cut proposals would swallow any potential peace divident, eliminating any use of defense savings for city and town priorities.
The new divident is payable September 8, to shareholders of record August 9, A-B said.