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

Democrats back social liberalism and tighter state control of corporations; Republicans espouse the opposite. The Economist, "Socially liberal companies really do contribute more to Democrats," 29 Aug. 2019 No one should have ever espoused any form of socialism after the collapse of the pact and its tragic results. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Biden is in the lead because most Democrats reject socialism," 22 Aug. 2019 The result is that the party faithful will occasionally be exposed to some very good libertarian ideas—such as criticisms of bombing and spying on people—that both Ron and Rand Paul have espoused in their respective runs for the presidency. Lucy Steigerwald, The New Republic, "Justin Amash and the Libertarian Future," 29 July 2019 And in the 1990s, Bill Clinton (in 1992) and Tony Blair (in 1997) led the Democratic and Labour Parties back into power while repudiating much of the philosophy the parties had espoused at mid-century. David Kaiser, Time, "Donald Trump and Boris Johnson Rode the Same Wave Into Power. History Suggests the Parallels Won’t Stop There," 26 July 2019 But now, Twitter is finally acknowledging its responsibility in intervening when the President and other world leaders espouse dangerous rhetoric cloaked as free speech. Anabel Pasarow,, "Trump’s Tweets Have Gotten So Bad That Twitter Might Start Giving Them Warning Labels," 28 June 2019 Getting to Gateway One need not regurgitate decades of space policy history to understand why NASA now espouses development of a lunar Gateway that will cost at a minimum $10 billion and almost certainly many multiples of that. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA says it’s building a gateway to the Moon—critics say it’s just a gate," 6 Sep. 2018 Women and girls are under enormous societal pressure to be thin and that pressure is even harder to bear when a parent also espouses those ideals. Cheryl Strayed, New York Times, "Is Avoiding My Body Issues an Issue?," 12 June 2018 That service-mindedness helps offset his disappointment with Washington politics, where the kind of compromise that legislators like former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole once espoused seems today to have become a dirty word. Christa Case Bryant, The Christian Science Monitor, "Amid tariffs and floods, a farmer finds hope in the next crop of Kansans," 17 July 2019

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

4 Sep 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

Comments on espouse

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recurring in steady succession

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