Definition of marriage
1a see usage paragraph below : the state of being united as spouses in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by lawb : the mutual relation of married persons : wedlockc : the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage
2 : an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities
3 : an intimate or close union the marriage of painting and poetry — J. T. Shawcross
Usage of marriage
The definition of the word marriage—or, more accurately, the understanding of what the institution of marriage properly consists of—continues to be highly controversial. This is not an issue to be resolved by dictionaries. Ultimately, the controversy involves cultural traditions, religious beliefs, legal rulings, and ideas about fairness and basic human rights. The principal point of dispute has to do with marriage between two people of the same sex, often referred to as same-sex marriage or gay marriage. Same-sex marriages are now recognized by law in a growing number of countries and were legally validated throughout the U.S. by the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. In many other parts of the world, marriage continues to be allowed only between men and women. The definition of marriage shown here is intentionally broad enough to encompass the different types of marriage that are currently recognized in varying cultures, places, religions, and systems of law.
Examples of marriage in a Sentence
It was his second marriage.
They have a very happy marriage.
Her first two marriages ended in divorce.
She has old-fashioned ideas about marriage.
couples living together before marriage
Many friends and relatives were present at their marriage.
a priest who has performed many marriages
a marriage of sweet and spicy flavors
a marriage of science and art
a marriage between form and function
Recent Examples of marriage from the Web
A few hours later, a taxi dropped us at the Las Vegas Office of Civil Marriages.
For centuries, the island was the traditional meeting place to hand off brides and grooms when important royal marriages were arranged between France and Spain.
His marriages to Carol Thompson and Judith Sherman ended in divorce.
Greco is survived by Anders and seven children from previous marriages.
Online court records from Polk County, Florida, show that Hundley had several previous marriages that ended in divorce.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, the jet-setting Hungarian actress and socialite who helped invent a new kind of fame out of multiple marriages, conspicuous wealth and jaded wisdom about the glamorous life, died Sunday at her home, her husband said.
There are no children from any of the marriages, although his third wife had a son, and my grandson helped support the child.
Still, early marriages and poverty are two of the biggest reasons more than 130 million girls are out of school globally.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'marriage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of marriage
Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
MARRIAGE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of marriage for English Language Learners
: the relationship that exists between a husband and a wife
: a similar relationship between people of the same sex
: a ceremony in which two people are married to each other
MARRIAGE Defined for Kids
Definition of marriage for Students
1 : the state of being united in a legal relationship as husband and wife
2 : the act of getting married
Legal Definition of marriage
1 : the state of being united to a person as spouse in a legal, consensual, and contractual relationship recognized and sanctioned by and dissolvable only by law — see also divorce ,Obergefell v. Hodges — compare civil union
2 : the ceremony containing certain legal formalities by which a marriage relationship is created