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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 ?
The "real discount rate" was defined as the sum of the S&P 500 dividend yield and the long-term (fifty year) growth rate in real dividents. (17)
Its strategy of strategic and targeted acquisitions, focus on core technologies, and project teams that work together to develop application-specific ingredients for food processors and foodservice customers have resulted in 14 successive years of double-digit growth in earnings and dividents.
Now, let's assume that Salton also paid dividents. Where would the funds have come from to pay them?