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


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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 That sentiment—just like the recent push for criminal-justice reform—has been bipartisan, espoused both by Jeff Sessions in his early days as an Alabama prosecutor and by Kamala Harris as D.A. in San Francisco. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "Power of Attorney," 16 Sep. 2019 Fans are also not prohibited from displaying other signs that espouse anti-fascist, anti-racist or pro-immigrant messaging. Jamie Goldberg,, "Portland Thorns fans join Timbers fans in protesting ban on ‘Iron Front’ symbol, political displays," 25 Aug. 2019 The conference led to a schism in African letters with those from former English colonies at odds with the Francophone delegates who espoused the Negritude movement. James Murua, Quartz Africa, "The rise and rise of the literary festival in African cities," 9 Aug. 2019 Langdon once sat Redick down in Coach K’s office during an early 2000s summer camp in Durham, the elder marksman espousing wisdoms of surviving the pro ranks. Jake Fischer,, "How David Griffin Rebuilt the Pelicans and His World," 1 Aug. 2019 Because in a lot of ways, the people who espouse these very principles of openness are people who need to be reminded that language can be another way to close off borders. Tobias Carroll, Longreads, "‘My Teachers Said We Weren’t Allowed To Use Them.’," 30 July 2019 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

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

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Espouse.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for espouse


How to pronounce espouse (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for espouse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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strength of mind

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