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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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 Many Proud Boys espouse white supremacist and white nationalist views, though the group has some nonwhite members. Will Carless, USA TODAY, "Police response to Washington, D.C., stabbing another sign law enforcement favors Proud Boys," 12 Nov. 2020 And some adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which has gained prominence during this election cycle, espouse anti-Semitic views. Farah Eltohamy, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona state Senate candidate's campaign sign vandalized with swastika," 27 Oct. 2020 Lynn was a former running back who spoke publicly of a strong desire to establish the ground game, a belief his predecessors Norv Turner and Mike McCoy, both former quarterbacks, didn’t espouse as strongly. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Chargers reaped apparent bonanza from Philip Rivers’ final rough ride," 26 Oct. 2020 Stam on Thursday eschewed the empty platitudes coaches typically espouse for an honest dialogue about his personal thoughts and concerns with four matches to play in the 2020 season and having lost on home turf to D.C. United on Sunday. Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, "FC Cincinnati's Jaap Stam: It takes time to build, reach the MLS playoffs," 23 Oct. 2020 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

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

16 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Espouse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 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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