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

  • n. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
  • n. The state of being married; wedlock.
  • n. A common-law marriage.
  • n. A union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of marriage: a same-sex marriage.
  • n. A wedding.
  • n. A close union: "the most successful marriage of beauty and blood in mainstream comics” ( Lloyd Rose).
  • n. Games The combination of the king and queen of the same suit, as in pinochle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A joining of two parts.
  • n. A king and a queen, when held as a hand in Texas hold 'em and some other card games.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of marrying, or the state of being married; legal union of a man and a woman for life, as husband and wife; wedlock; matrimony.
  • n. The marriage vow or contract.
  • n. A feast made on the occasion of a marriage.
  • n. Any intimate or close union.
  • n. In pinochle, bézique, and similar games at cards, the combination of a king and queen of the same suit. If of the trump suit, it is called a royal marriage.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The legal union of a man with a woman for life; the state or condition of being married; the legal relation of spouses to each other; wedlock.
  • n. The formal declaration or contract by which act a man and a woman join in wedlock.
  • n. The celebration of a marriage; a wedding.
  • n. A marriage vow or contract.
  • n. Intimate union; a joining as if in marriage.
  • n. In various card-games, as bezique, the possession in one hand of the king and queen.
  • n. A marriage itself.
  • n. Same as marriage articles.

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

  • n. the act of marrying; the nuptial ceremony
  • n. two people who are married to each other
  • n. a close and intimate union
  • n. the state of being a married couple voluntarily joined for life (or until divorce)


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

Middle English mariage, from Old French, from marier, to marry; see marry1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French mariage, from marier ("to marry"), from Latin marito ("to marry", literally “give in marriage"), from maritus ("lover", "nuptial"), from mas ("male", "masculine", "of the male sex").


  • It seems to me that the debate about gay marriage has been framed in two extremes: either you must accept homosexual unions as *exactly the same as heterosexual marriage* (the liberal position), or rail on about the Evil of the Gay Agenda (the conservative position).

    New Jersey, Being Subtle « Whatever

  • New Jersey - Chapter 37 - again, assumption of opposite-sex marriage but *no ban on same-sex marriage*.

    Gay Marriage in Portland

  • Now, Montaigne endeavours to apply this thought to the institution of marriage; and he descends, in doing so, to the following irrational argument: -- 'Let us select the most necessary and most useful institution of human society: _it is marriage_.

    Shakspere and Montaigne

  • "But marriage, _marriage_, Emily -- why in Heaven's name should they be in such a hurry?"

    The Tin Soldier

  • The Queen, writing to her Uncle Leopold in this the twenty-first year of their marriage, says: "_Very_ few can say with me that their husband at the end of twenty-one years is _not_ only full of the friendship, kindness, and affection which a truly happy marriage brings with it, but the same tender love of the _very first days of our marriage_!"

    Queen Victoria

  • Secondly, that in heaven they are not given in marriage, he taught by these words, "_Those who shall be accounted worthy to attain to another generation, neither marry nor are given in marriage_."

    The Delights of Wisdom Pertaining to Conjugial Love

  • If Hawaiians consider civil unions to be marriage by another name, why don't they just go ahead and call it what it is. *marriage*

    Gay/Lesbian Forum

  • Fritz: I want to completely get government out of the marriage business, but I do not think that "opp osed to same-sex marriage&# 8221; is sufficient for" vic ious and homopho ...

    Liberal Values

  • "An Act for registering births, deaths and marriages in Scotland," by the said parties appearing in presence of the registrar, and then and there signing before witnesses the entry of their marriage in the register, and having the same otherwise registered in the manner provided by the said act, in the case of the registration of marriages by the parties themselves contracting marriage; _upon which registration only_ the marriage shall be held to be contracted or valid or effectual to any effect or purpose whatever; and it is hereby declared that _such registration shall of itself constitute marriage_, and such parties shall thereafter be held and deemed to be married parties to all effects and purposes whatever.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 379, May, 1847

  • Spiritual nuptials mean conjunction with the Lord, which is effected on earth; and when it is effected on earth, it is also effected in the heavens; therefore in the heavens there is no repetition of nuptials, nor are they again given in marriage: this is also meant by these words, "_The sons of this generation marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to another generation, neither marry nor are given in marriage_".

    The Delights of Wisdom Pertaining to Conjugial Love


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  • The Universal Etymological Dictionary from 1675 uses the word 'marriage' in it's definitions of words, but doesn't define marriage

    So this whole 'marriage definition' problem is Nathan Bailey's fault.

    March 27, 2013

  • "For years, lexicographers have pored over the term at the center of Supreme Court proceedings today, trying to tweak dictionary entries to reflect how all people use the word, regardless of their political persuasions. “Lexicographers end up in a no-win situation, where no matter what they do, somebody’s going to have trouble with the definition,” says Ben Zimmer, linguist and executive producer at

    Some dictionaries, like the historically ordered Merriam-Webster, have added a second definition for same-sex marriage and left the main entry referring to a man and a woman. Zimmer points out that some gay rights activists balk at that fix, however, feeling a second definition suggests that gay marriage is second class. Other references, like the American Heritage Dictionary, have wedged more information into a single definition: “The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife, and in some jurisdictions, between two persons of the same sex, usually entailing legal obligations of each person to the other.”"

    From "Seven Hang-Ups in the Language of Gay Rights" by Katy Steinmetz


    March 27, 2013