spou·​sal | \ˈspau̇-zəl, -səl\

Definition of spousal 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or involving a spouse spousal affection spousal assault spousal support



Definition of spousal (Entry 2 of 2)

: nuptials usually used in plural

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Other Words from spousal


spousally adverb

Examples of spousal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In this traumatized society, spousal abuse seems ingrained. New York Times, "When a Baby Is an Everyday Reminder of Rohingya Horror," 7 July 2018 But Milton wrote passionately and bravely in defense of divorce on the grounds of spousal incompatibility. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Death of the Public Square," 6 July 2018 Saturday, June 23 Confidential victim of spousal abuse, 15500 Calistoga Drive. Ramona Sentinel, "Sheriff's Reports: June 18-24," 27 June 2018 The reports of spousal abuse are jarring and upsetting. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "The Blunt Truth About athenahealth’s Jonathan Bush," 6 June 2018 So far in 2018, the most serious charge faced by people that the Sheriff’s Department did not turn over to ICE was misdemeanor spousal battery, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Department said. Kate Morrissey, sandiegouniontribune.com, "County jails released 349 people wanted by ICE since "sanctuary law" started," 28 May 2018 Joe Gliniewicz, cannot be introduced at trial due to spousal protection laws. Jim Newton, Lake County News-Sun, "Melodie Gliniewicz case back to appellate court after judge says phone records can't be used at trial," 31 May 2018 Some people are making speculations about plastic surgery; others, much more cynically, about spousal abuse. Amanda Arnold, The Cut, "Where’s Melania?," 29 May 2018 How properly claiming spousal payments may increase your benefits! azcentral, "Social Security and Retirement Tax Planning Class," 25 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'spousal.' 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 spousal


1904, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for spousal


Middle English spousaille, from Anglo-French spousailles, espusailles espousal

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Time Traveler for spousal

The first known use of spousal was in the 14th century

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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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