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 It has been met with skepticism by critics of corporate America, who are tracking the ideals that Business Roundtable members publicly espouse with their actions. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, "CEOs say they need to do more to fight racism. This is how they plan to do it," 15 Oct. 2020 Other doctors and epidemiologists who have signed on to the declaration espouse views that are largely rejected by the scientific community, including the notion that herd immunity would only require 10% to 20% of the population to be infected. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "The myth—and danger—of COVID herd immunity," 14 Oct. 2020 The problem is exacerbated when people who don’t necessarily espouse neo-Nazi beliefs repost content about being sick of partisan bickering or not trusting the media. Gina Barton, USA TODAY, "He was shot in Kenosha, then received threats – a frightening pattern after high-profile incidents," 22 Sep. 2020 Añez, known to espouse racist, anti-Indigenous views, went on to preside over an interim regime that wheeled viciously against political opponents and Morales supporters. Washington Post, "Will the left return to power in Bolivia?," 22 Sep. 2020 Local leaders take it as a show of disrespect and a betrayal of the local government-first principle those state officials normally espouse. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Grand County fights resurrected Book Cliffs highway proposal," 23 Sep. 2020 Practical types espouse the joys of a pale-blue surgical mask as a... Katharine K. Zarrella And Sara Bosworth, WSJ, "The New Face-Mask Debate? Stylish vs. Surgical," 26 Aug. 2020 There’s no hard data on how many Christians espouse QAnon. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Katelyn Beaty: QAnon is the alternative religion that’s coming to your church," 25 Aug. 2020 The idea that Republicans can -- earnestly and with a straight face -- just pretend like the last four years never happened and pick up the policies and principles that the party used to espouse strains credulity. CNN, "Opinion: The Republican Party has a tough choice to make," 21 Aug. 2020

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

23 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Espouse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 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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