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 Friends gradually began joining him on social media to defend Trump’s policies and espouse conservative viewpoints. Washington Post, "Why Texas’s overwhelmingly Latino Rio Grande Valley turned toward Trump," 10 Nov. 2020 Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd, co-founders of The Laundress, espouse a similar approach to eco-friendly laundry soaps and care. Washington Post, "You know what else you’re doing wrong? Laundry. Don’t worry, a new book offers hope.," 26 Mar. 2021 Regulations already exist to root out service members who espouse violent extremist behaviors. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Conservatives fear extremism in military debate is ‘political theater’ to target Christians," 24 Mar. 2021 They’re influenced by an older guard of tennis legends that espouse self-expression above all else. Rory Satran, WSJ, "How Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams Reignited Tennis Style," 13 Mar. 2021 Both candidates espouse progressive values, such as confronting climate change and expanding access to health care. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Challengers and familiar names in three San Diego state Assembly races," 25 Oct. 2020 His social media accounts espouse hatred of Jews and a yearning for armed conflict. Wayne K. Roustan,, "FBI swarms Fort Lauderdale neighborhood with terrorism task force," 2 Mar. 2021 You may be exposed to people who espouse a cause or who gather for a specific reason. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 3, 2021: Happy birthday David Faustino; Libra, be discreet," 3 Mar. 2021 Research also shows that educators who espouse culturally responsive attitudes have more positive interactions with students, said Marie Ann Donovan, program director for early childhood teacher education at DePaul University. Robert Mccoppin,, "‘Culturally responsive teaching’ or ‘woke indoctrination’? New standards for Illinois teachers in training are latest flashpoint in culture wars," 26 Feb. 2021

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

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Espouse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of espouse

formal : to express support for (a cause, belief, etc.)

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