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 In case you were found to be in a relationship before wedlock, gently oppressive parents would threaten you with several days of curfew, and abusive oppressors like right-wing groups would threaten violence. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "On Valentine’s Day, the feminist, the lover, and the liberal in me go to war," 13 Feb. 2020 More recently, in November, Doocy asked Biden about the child Hunter Biden fathered out of wedlock. Washington Post, "How does Fox News cover the Democratic field? With the son of morning host Steve Doocy.," 3 Feb. 2020 This was a time when out-of-wedlock births brought extreme shame on everyone involved. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "Faith & You: Fear Not? Here come the holidays. They’re not easy.," 6 Dec. 2019 Genetic genealogy relies on the same kind of analysis used by direct-to-consumer DNA tests, revealing a lot about people’s lineage ─ including adoptions and out-of-wedlock births ─ and their predispositions to certain health conditions. NBC News, "Her sister was murdered in 1980. New DNA methods could crack the case, but NY won't allow it.," 9 Nov. 2019 Sitting inside the damp cement prison in Mazar-e-Sharif, where women are locked up for everything from being pregnant out of wedlock to killing husbands, Niloofar bows her head in shame, resting her scarred arms in her lap. Sophia Jones, Marie Claire, "In Afghanistan, Women Are Winning the Fight Against Virginity Testing," 30 Oct. 2019 When Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote his report, around a quarter of black children were born out of wedlock. The Economist, "ChildrenPoverty in America has long-lasting, destructive consequences on children," 26 Sep. 2019 Deanna gave up her dreams of studying archaeology to raise Maddie and endure wedlock to a guy named Dan, played by Matt Walsh. Ben Falcone, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Life of the Party,’ Melissa McCarthy Goes to College," 10 May 2018 But testimony made the definition clear: pregnancy or a child born out of wedlock. Mia Armstrong, Longreads, "In Sickness, In Health — and In Prison," 19 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for wedlock

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wedlock

Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wedlock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for wedlock


How to pronounce wedlock (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wedlock

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wedlock

Spanish Central: Translation of wedlock

Nglish: Translation of wedlock for Spanish Speakers

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