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

Examples of wedlock in a Sentence

joined the happy couple in holy wedlock
Recent Examples on the Web One woman in her 60s replied to it, saying that her own first child had been born out of wedlock, and was taken from her for adoption, which had broken her heart. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2022 None of my brothers has mentioned having a son out of wedlock. Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2022 Putin is rumored to have more children out of wedlock, all of who appear to have lived in Western countries. CNN, 12 Apr. 2022 Conceived out of wedlock, the child was raised primarily at boarding schools, in keeping with convention for upper-middle-class families of the time. Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2022 Sunja marries to conceal the identity her firstborn's father, and to avoid societal shame of having a child out of wedlock. Milan Polk, Men's Health, 25 Mar. 2022 Like Chamberlin, the new Mrs. Huntington also had a son born out of wedlock. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 14 Mar. 2022 Last month, as a result of what legal experts say was pushback from conservatives, the law changed again, and having a child out of wedlock now carries a penalty of two years in jail. Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2022 Lee was born in Seoul in 1952, his mother moving alone to the U.S. soon thereafter, having been ostracized by her family for falling pregnant out of wedlock. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 21 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wedlock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for wedlock


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

Kids Definition of wedlock

More from Merriam-Webster on wedlock

Nglish: Translation of wedlock for Spanish Speakers


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