es·​pouse | \ i-ˈspau̇z How to pronounce espouse (audio) 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


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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 Antifa — which is shorthand for anti-fascist — is a leaderless, loosely organized collection of far-left anarchists, some of whom espouse communist or anti-capitalist rhetoric. Joe Garofoli,, "Bay Area activists fear Trump’s targeting of Antifa is an excuse to go after them," 1 June 2020 Apparently his penance is to espouse anti-science, anti-women venom. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Ex-Detroit Tiger Aubrey Huff's anti-mask screed is another reason we're in trouble," 18 June 2020 Largely young white men, many of those who claim an allegiance to the far-right movement frequently carry rifles and espouse a need to defend the Second Amendment. Katie Shepherd, Anchorage Daily News, "An officer was murdered during Oakland protests. The killer was a ‘Boogaloo Boy’ using the peaceful marches as cover, feds say.," 17 June 2020 The recent violence has raised questions about whether a more focused and systemic response is warranted by groups such as the Boogaloo, which openly espouse violence against the police and other government authorities. Craig Timberg, Washington Post, "As Trump warns of leftist violence, a dangerous threat emerges from the right-wing Boogaloo movement," 17 June 2020 Walker also suggests that the kids might just be alright because new polling shows recent high school graduates espouse more conservative and Libertarian values than their predecessors. Washington Examiner Staff, Washington Examiner, "Elisha Explains: Former WI Gov. Scott Walker on politics and protests," 10 June 2020 What seems clear is that artists, cultural institutions, organizations, media, patrons, collectors and arts leaders can do more to model and espouse strongly that black lives matter as much as white lives. Darryl Ratcliff, Dallas News, "Dismantling the structures of racism one heart, one mind, one artwork at a time," 7 June 2020 Bay Area residents are familiar with the work of those who espouse that ideology. Joe Garofoli,, "Bay Area activists fear Trump’s targeting of Antifa is an excuse to go after them," 1 June 2020 Recent research has shown that people who espouse paranormal and conspiratorial beliefs are much more susceptible to the conjunction-fallacy. Sander Van Der Linden, Scientific American, "How Come Some People Believe in the Paranormal?," 1 Sep. 2015

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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Time Traveler for espouse

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

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Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Espouse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce espouse (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of espouse

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on espouse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for espouse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with espouse

Spanish Central: Translation of espouse

Nglish: Translation of espouse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of espouse for Arabic Speakers

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