espouse

verb es·pouse \ i-ˈspau̇z also -ˈspau̇s \
Updated on: 22 Nov 2017

Definition of espouse

espoused; espousing
transitive verb
1 : marry
2 : to take up and support as a cause : become attached to

espouser

noun

espouse was our Word of the Day on 02/16/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of espouse in a Sentence

  1. The new theory has been espoused by many leading physicists.

  2. Those espousing unpopular views were often excluded.

Recent Examples of espouse from the Web

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.

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."

Origin and Etymology of espouse

Middle English, from Anglo-French espuser, from Late Latin sponsare to betroth, from Latin sponsus betrothed — more at spouse

espouse Synonyms

Synonyms
marry, match, wed
Antonyms
divorce
Related Words
commit, engage; affiance, betroth, pledge, promise
Near Antonyms
separate (from)

Synonym Discussion of 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

ESPOUSE Defined for English Language Learners

espouse

verb

Definition of espouse for English Language Learners

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



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up espouse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

sticky or viscid

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!