es·​pouse | \ i-ˈspau̇z also -ˈspau̇s \
espoused; espousing

Definition of espouse

transitive verb

1 : marry
2 : to take up and support as a cause : become attached to

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Other Words from espouse

espouser noun

Synonyms for espouse


marry, match, wed

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Choose the Right Synonym for espouse

adopt, embrace, espouse mean to take an opinion, policy, or practice as one's own. adopt implies accepting something created by another or foreign to one's nature. forced to adopt new policies embrace implies a ready or happy acceptance. embraced the customs of their new homeland espouse adds an implication of close attachment to a cause and a sharing of its fortunes. espoused the cause of women's rights

Commit to Learning the History of Espouse

As you might guess, the words "espouse" and "spouse" are related, both deriving from the Latin verb spondēre, meaning "to promise or betroth." In fact, the two were once completely interchangeable, with each serving as a noun meaning "a newly married person" or "a husband or wife" and also as a verb meaning "to marry." Their semantic separation began in the 17th century, when the noun "espouse" fell out of use. Around the same time, people started using the verb "espouse" figuratively to mean "to commit to and support a cause." "Spouse" continued to be used in both noun and verb forms until the 20th century, when its verb use declined and it came to be used mainly as a noun meaning "husband or wife."

Examples of espouse in a Sentence

The new theory has been espoused by many leading physicists. Those espousing unpopular views were often excluded.

Recent Examples on the Web

Adherents of the alt-right have been known to espouse racist, anti-Semitic and sexist points of view. Robert Costa, The Seattle Times, "Trump adviser Larry Kudlow hosted publisher of white nationalists at his home," 21 Aug. 2018 Even Zinke seems to espouse similar views on land ownership. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter Four: The Gospel of Bundy," 18 May 2018 Aghdam used YouTube to espouse the benefits of veganism and exercise with videos that were at once surreal and unhinged. Sarah Parvini,, "Some people who mocked Nasim Aghdam's YouTube videos regret it now," 6 Apr. 2018 Often those who espouse anti-Semitism use the political interests of any Jewish person, be they left-wing or right-wing, as evidence that their Jewishness is the real basis of their political beliefs and thus, that those beliefs cannot be trusted. Jane Coaston, Vox, "How the rise of conspiracy theory politics emboldens anti-Semitism," 31 Oct. 2018 And don't some espouse that pain provides the catalyst to achieve some form of higher meaning? Andrea Valdez, WIRED, "Here's What Needs to Happen in Westworld's Second Season," 20 Apr. 2018 Ultranationalists who espouse anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim views seem emboldened elsewhere as well. Vanessa Gera, Time, "World Remembers Holocaust Amid Signs of Rising Hatred," 27 Jan. 2018 In effect, the kind of global governance espoused by centrist movements — the kind that promotes countries working together to improve the world’s economy and security — is severely under threat, and there’s little sign of that threat abating. Alex Ward, Vox, "“A collapse of the center”: why fringe movements are winning around the world," 29 Oct. 2018 But polls have shown that most Canadians would prefer a stronger line, like that espoused by the opposition Conservative Party, be taken instead. Fox News, "Canada struggling with illegal border 'crisis' of its own ahead of crucial elections," 16 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'espouse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of espouse

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for espouse

Middle English, from Anglo-French espuser, from Late Latin sponsare to betroth, from Latin sponsus betrothed — more at spouse

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Statistics for espouse

Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for espouse

The first known use of espouse was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of espouse

: to express support for (a cause, belief, etc.)

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More from Merriam-Webster on espouse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with espouse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for espouse

Spanish Central: Translation of espouse

Nglish: Translation of espouse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of espouse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on espouse

What made you want to look up espouse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to settle judicially or to act as judge

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