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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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 And, as in Enlightened, the lofty principles characters espouse tend to dovetail conveniently with their own self-interest. Judy Berman, Time, 1 July 2021 If the filibuster were gone, the court would be better able to perform the limited and truly judicial role that conservatives espouse—or at least pretend to embrace. Thomas Geoghegan, The New Republic, 14 June 2021 Hoda Muthana, who comes from a Muslim family that does not espouse extreme views, developed a jihadist interpretation of Islam from online readings. Carol Robinson |, al, 27 May 2021 Vaccine hesitancy and refusal are particularly rampant among QAnon conspiracy theorists (who espouse views that nearly 1 in 5 U.S. Latter-day Saints regard sympathetically, according to PRRI). The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 May 2021 Large segments of the country still impose social and civic consequences on people who espouse nakedly racist views in public. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 29 Apr. 2021 Across Asia, in places such as Myanmar, India, and Hong Kong, leaders that espouse nationalist rhetoric and bemoan their former colonial overlords see no issue with deploying laws designed by those foreign masters against their own people. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, 15 Apr. 2021 The candidates in the election scheduled for June 18 either espouse deeply conservative positions aligned with those of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, or are little known, with no voter base and no chance to win. New York Times, 28 May 2021 Since then, the model has continued to espouse her commitment to confidence and beauty of all kinds. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 8 Apr. 2021

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

8 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Espouse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of espouse

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

More from Merriam-Webster on espouse

Nglish: Translation of espouse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of espouse for Arabic Speakers


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