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

Their members have espoused other brands of hate — such as misogyny, Islamophobia and bigotry toward transgender people. Marina Starleaf Riker,, "Far-right groups gain mainstream momentum in crusade against anti-fascist movement," 13 Sep. 2019 The meaning and symbolism painted on the walls of the synagogue espouses hatred, which is not indicative of this community. Don Stacom,, "Newtown police investigate synagogue vandalism," 24 Aug. 2019 That was Hassett’s theory, anyway, and a number of other conservative economists espoused it, too. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "A Decline in Capital Investment Reveals the False Promise of Trump’s Tax Bill," 30 July 2019 Some investors have cheered economic policies espoused by Mr. Bolsonaro’s potential finance minister, Paulo Guedes, who has vowed to shrink the government’s role in the economy, privatize state assets and give the central bank full independence. Ira Iosebashvili, WSJ, "Brazilian Real Extends Rally," 9 Oct. 2018 Jones is well-known for, among other things, espousing theories about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that caused survivors and their families to be harassed and threatened. Marie C. Baca, Washington Post, "Infowars returned to YouTube. It lasted less than a day.," 29 Aug. 2019 Luck’s retirement demonstrates to the extent to which football and bodily harm remain inseparable, even as the NFL espouses its commitment to player safety. Robert O'connell, The Atlantic, "Andrew Luck Chooses Himself Over the NFL," 26 Aug. 2019 Some complaints in the report, such as the claim that fact-checking by organizations such as the Associated Press and PolitiFact skews to the left, definitely espouse a conservative point of view. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Facebook audit of alleged anti-conservative bias fails to pinpoint any," 20 Aug. 2019 The American, who typically wears a simple brown habit and sandals, exemplified the humility that Pope Francis espoused for the church’s hierarchy. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "‘It Will Cause a Scandal.’ The Pope and a Trusted U.S. Cardinal Clash Over Sex-Abuse Crisis," 14 Feb. 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

16 Oct 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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