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 & Antonyms for espouse


marry, 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

At freewheeling town-hall meetings, O’Rourke espouses gun control, single-payer health care, and other progressive positions, sprinkling his speeches with folksy anecdotes and occasional profanity. Andrew Rice, Daily Intelligencer, "Can a Democrat Ever Win in Texas?," 10 July 2018 In areas under its control, HTS espouses an extreme interpretation of Islam. Jessica Donati, WSJ, "U.S. Issues Terror Designation for Rising Syrian Militant Group," 31 May 2018 Verma, who was picked by President Trump, also espouses certain conservative views that are unpopular in liberal-leaning Massachusetts. Priyanka Dayal Mccluskey,, "Medicaid needs to change, head of program says in Boston, and that includes spending caps," 25 Apr. 2018 By reflecting on their own national flag, many expressed the same economic nationalism U.S. flag manufacturers espoused—only in this case, globalization is currently working in China’s favor. Michael D. Breidenbach, The Atlantic, "Raising the American Flag Made in China," 4 July 2018 Even the title of their 1991 debut, 13-Point Program to Destroy America, espoused their desire eradicate the country. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Fabled D.C. gospel yeh-yeh band the Make-Up play a couple rare reunion shows," 29 June 2018 The position Axelrod espouses here typically goes like this: Trump relishes incivility, and by stooping to his level, good and decent people will further deepen the chasm that threatens to divide this country on a permanent basis. Jay Willis, GQ, "Public Shaming Is Powerful," 25 June 2018 The hiring of di Genova, an attorney who has regularly espoused the idea that there is a deep-state conspiracy within the government trying to frame Trump for Russia's election meddling, was the first sign of the change. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "John Dowd's resignation tells you a lot about Donald Trump's mindset," 22 Mar. 2018 The wealthy—many old-money Turks who espouse liberal values—are also in Erdogan’s line of fire. Soner Cagaptay, Time, "How President Erdogan Is Turning Turkey Into Putin's Russia," 24 June 2017

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

2 Oct 2018

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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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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 express warning or disapproval

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