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

Getting Word participants testify to the ideals Jefferson expressed in the Declaration of Independence, while acknowledging and countering the racist fallacies Jefferson espoused that continue to affect the welfare of all Americans. Andrew M. Davenport, Smithsonian, "Putting Enslaved Families’ Stories Back in the Monticello Narrative," 14 June 2018 But as levels of violence diminish nationwide and bread-and-butter issues come to the fore, candidates from their ranks are espousing unity between Iraq’s majority Shiites and minority Sunnis and Kurds. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Iraq’s Shiite militias try to convert military victory into political power," 27 Apr. 2018 Hitler espoused a virulent form of anti-Semitism that offered German citizens an enemy to rally around. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "A 1938 Nazi Law Forced Jews to Register Their Wealth—Making It Easier to Steal," 26 Apr. 2018 The irony, of course, is the NCAA is the only organization that still espouses amateurism. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "FBI scandal doesn't cast a pall over NCAA tournament. It lifts one," 14 Mar. 2018 Yes, that’s the double-digit opinion that journalist Yashar Ali espoused—in a tweet that was read far and wide—as his preferred stockpile of washcloths. Liz Krieger, Town & Country, "You Probably Don’t Own Enough Towels, According to an Expert," 22 Feb. 2019 The strategy being implemented at Union Pacific was espoused by Mr. Harrison, who was running rival CSX Corp. Paul Ziobro, WSJ, "Union Pacific’s Cure for Congestion: Imitate a Rival," 19 Sep. 2018 Theodore John Kaczynski, otherwise known as the Unabomber, was driven by a conviction that technology was a threat to humanity—as espoused in his manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future. Simon R. Gardner, The Atlantic, "98 Years of Mail Fraud," 4 May 2018 Conspiracy theories Barr has espoused fringe conspiracy theories and false statements, including one that incorrectly said Chelsea Clinton was married to a nephew of the investor George Soros. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "Roseanne Barr Had a History of Racist Tweets, Conspiracy Theories and Controversy Before Roseanne Was Canceled," 29 May 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

29 May 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

formal : 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

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