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

  • n. The state of being married; matrimony.
  • idiom out of wedlock Of parents not legally married to each other: born out of wedlock.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state of being married; matrimony.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The ceremony, or the state, of marriage; matrimony.
  • n. A wife; a married woman.
  • transitive v. To marry; to unite in marriage; to wed.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Marriage; matrimony; the married state; the vows and sacrament of marriage. Sometimes used attributively.
  • n. A wife.
  • n. Synonyms Matrimony, Wedding, etc. See marriage.
  • To unite in marriage; marry.

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

  • n. the state of being a married couple voluntarily joined for life (or until divorce)


Middle English wedlocke, from Old English wedlāc : wedd, pledge + -lāc, n. suff. expressing activity.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English wedlok, wedlocke ("wedlock, marriage, matrimony"), from Old English wedlāc ("marriage vow, pledge, plighted troth, wedlock"), from wedd ("pledge") + -lāc, suffix denoting activity or process, equivalent to wed +‎ -lock. (Wiktionary)



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  • frolic(h)'s suffix surely must be related to words of this suffix.

    June 3, 2009

  • Possible in the case of knowledge, with its completely mysterious second element—I suppose the older -leche could come from palatalization of a Northern form -leik of the -lock suffix, though the OED does not raise this possibility.

    Shurely shome mishtake with lark, which though equally mysterious does not admit of anything like *-lak. The v in OE láferce might have been Norse influence; other old forms include OE láwerce, OHG lêrahha, ON lǽvirke, and this suffix won't fit in there.

    The 'Rohirric' word dwimmerlaik in Tolkien's works is a use of a genuine (extinct) English word with the suffix.

    June 1, 2009

  • lark and knowledge are the other two common remnants of this OE substantival word suffix

    June 1, 2009

  • The only survivor in Modern English of the Old English action noun suffix -lác. This may have been a noun "play" and originated in compounds meaning "sword-play" for "battle".

    June 1, 2009