Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To take in marriage; marry.
  • transitive v. To give (a woman) in marriage.
  • transitive v. To give one's loyalty or support to (a cause, for example); adopt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To become/get married to.
  • v. To accept, support, or take on as one’s own (an idea or a cause).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To betroth; to promise in marriage; to give as spouse.
  • transitive v. To take as spouse; to take to wife; to marry.
  • transitive v. To take to one's self with a view to maintain; to make one's own; to take up the cause of; to adopt; to embrace.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To promise, engage, or bestow in marriage; betroth.
  • To take in marriage; marry; wed.
  • To take to one's self, or make one's own; embrace; adopt; become a participator or partizan in: as, to espouse the quarrel of another; to espouse a cause.
  • To pledge; commit; engage.
  • n. A spouse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. take in marriage
  • v. choose and follow; as of theories, ideas, policies, strategies or plans
  • v. take up the cause, ideology, practice, method, of someone and use it as one's own

Etymologies

Middle English espousen, from Old French espouser, from Latin spōnsāre, frequentative of spondēre, to betroth.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English espousen, from Old French espouser, from Latin spōnsāre, present active infinitive of spōnsō (frequentative of spondeō), from Proto-Indo-European *spend- (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Those people who didn't espouse the more extreme measures of the Fellowship were going to get a real wake-up call tonight. -Charlaine Harris, Living Dead in Dallas

    December 11, 2010

  • Now, of course, much of what osteopathic medicine has always espoused is rapidly becoming part of all medical training.

    May 26, 2010