noun \ˈmer-ij, ˈma-rij\

: the relationship that exists between a husband and a wife

: a similar relationship between people of the same sex

: a ceremony in which two people are married to each other

Full Definition of MARRIAGE

a (1) :  the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) :  the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage <same-sex marriage>
b :  the mutual relation of married persons :  wedlock
c :  the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage
:  an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected; especially :  the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities
:  an intimate or close union <the marriage of painting and poetry — J. T. Shawcross>

Examples of MARRIAGE

  1. It was his second marriage.
  2. They have a very happy marriage.
  3. Her first two marriages ended in divorce.
  4. She has old-fashioned ideas about marriage.
  5. couples living together before marriage
  6. Many friends and relatives were present at their marriage.
  7. a priest who has performed many marriages
  8. a marriage of sweet and spicy flavors
  9. a marriage of science and art
  10. a marriage between form and function

Origin of MARRIAGE

Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Sociology Terms

bourgeois, ethos, eugenics, exurb, incommunicado, intelligentsia, megalopolis, metrosexual, mores, subculture

Rhymes with MARRIAGE


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Legally and socially sanctioned union, usually between a man and a woman, that is regulated by laws, rules, customs, beliefs, and attitudes that prescribe the rights and duties of the partners and accords status to their offspring (if any). The universality of marriage is attributed to the many basic social and personal functions it performs, such as procreation, regulation of sexual behaviour, care of children and their education and socialization, regulation of lines of descent, division of labour between the sexes, economic production and consumption, and satisfaction of personal needs for social status, affection, and companionship. Until modern times marriage was rarely a matter of free choice, and it was rarely motivated by romantic love. In most eras and most societies, permissible marriage partners have been carefully regulated. In societies in which the extended family remains the basic unit, marriages are usually arranged by the family. The assumption is that love between the partners comes after marriage, and much thought is given to the socioeconomic advantages accruing to the larger family from the match. Some form of dowry or bridewealth is almost universal in societies that use arranged marriages. The rituals and ceremonies surrounding marriage are associated primarily with religion and fertility and validate the importance of marriage for the continuation of a family, clan, tribe, or society. In recent years the definition of marriage as a union between members of opposite sexes has been challenged, and in 2000 The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriages. See also bridewealth; divorce; dowry; exogamy and endogamy; polygamy.


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