wed·​lock | \ ˈwed-ˌläk How to pronounce wedlock (audio) \

Definition of wedlock

: the state of being married : marriage, matrimony
out of wedlock
: with the natural parents not legally married to each other

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Examples of wedlock in a Sentence

joined the happy couple in holy wedlock

Recent Examples on the Web

James Smithson’s mother was descended from Henry VII of England, but James was one of a reported four children conceived out of wedlock by his father, according to Smithson biographer Heather Ewing. Michael Waters, Smithsonian, "Mr. Smithson’s Family Goes to Washington," 14 June 2019 The black out-of-wedlock birth rate leveled off at close to 70% by the 1990s, while the white rate has continued to climb. Clarence Page,, "Is Father’s Day obsolete? Don’t let the trolls fool you.," 14 June 2019 His father, Ser Piero da Vinci, held elevated status as a notary—a professional path that Leonardo would have been expected to follow had he not been born out of wedlock. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "Why Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliance endures, 500 years after his death," 12 June 2019 If Albus’s mother, Kendra Dumbledore, had a baby out of wedlock after her husband’s death, the youngest that kid could be in 1927 is 28. Aja Romano, Vox, "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’s bonkers plot twist, explained," 17 Nov. 2018 But unwed mothers and babies born out of wedlock face stigma in the socially conservative country. Vidhi Doshi, Washington Post, "Nun from Mother Teresa’s charity in India arrested on suspicion of selling baby," 6 July 2018 Even those from red families were more likely than my acquaintances in New York to know someone who has had a child out of wedlock or is subject to a restraining order. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump’s sexual misconduct does not embody working class family values.," 2 July 2018 In Rajasthan, a vast and socially conservative desert state, the national survey said that 35.4 percent of women had been forced into wedlock as girls. Author: Shashank Bengali, Anchorage Daily News, "In India, ‘child marriage is like a disease’," 24 June 2018 In Rajasthan, a vast and socially conservative desert state, the national survey said that 35.4% of women had been forced into wedlock as girls. Shashank Bengali,, "An Indian activist fights in court to help child brides and grooms win their lives back," 18 June 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wedlock

Middle English wedlok, from Old English wedlāc marriage bond, from wedd pledge + -lāc, suffix denoting activity

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Dictionary Entries near wedlock

wedgwood blue

wedgwood green






Statistics for wedlock

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for wedlock

The first known use of wedlock was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of wedlock

: the state of being married


wed·​lock | \ ˈwed-ˌläk How to pronounce wedlock (audio) \

Kids Definition of wedlock

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More from Merriam-Webster on wedlock

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wedlock

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wedlock

Spanish Central: Translation of wedlock

Nglish: Translation of wedlock for Spanish Speakers

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