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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of wedlock in a Sentence

joined the happy couple in holy wedlock
Recent Examples on the Web There are odd, unlikely romances, a suicide, and babies born out of wedlock. Moira Hodgson, WSJ, "‘House of Trelawney’ Review: The Weight of the Estate," 1 Jan. 2021 The out-of-wedlock pregnancy finalized the painful break with Emmeline, who refused to see Sylvia and died months after her grandson was born. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, "The uncompromising life and legacy of activist Sylvia Pankhurst," 23 Dec. 2020 Various hospitalizations meant to control his addictions and ballooning weight made headlines in his homeland, as did his birthday parties, stories about his children born out of wedlock — most anything Maradona was grist for the media. Patrick J. Mcdonnell, Los Angeles Times, "The life of soccer great Diego Maradona was fit for the tabloids. So is his death," 3 Dec. 2020 The third movie, on the other hand, came 16 years later, and despite the kick of Al Pacino reprising the role of Michael Corleone and Andy Garcia's ferocious performance as Vincent, his brother's out-of-wedlock son, pales by comparison. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The Godfather, Coda' tries to pull you back in by taking another whack at the trilogy's Fredo," 3 Dec. 2020 Latino population — poverty, high-school-dropout rates, children born out of wedlock — but wants solutions to come from churches, individuals and private charities, not government. Marcela Valdes, New York Times, "The Fight to Win Latino Voters for the G.O.P.," 24 Nov. 2020 These mixed analogies suggest that neither wedlock nor siblinghood adequately captures what these friendships feel like. Rhaina Cohen, The Atlantic, "When a Friend Is Your Life Partner," 20 Oct. 2020 Her mother was also living with a man out of wedlock. Annette Gordon-reed, The New York Review of Books, "Rebellious History," 6 Oct. 2020 As the child of an out-of-wedlock birth, her stigma threatens the sanctity of her family's prominence in Kyoto. Sian Babish,, "Best books of fall 2020," 1 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wedlock

Time Traveler for wedlock

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for wedlock

Cite this Entry

“Wedlock.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wedlock



English Language Learners Definition of wedlock

: the state of being married


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

Kids Definition of wedlock

More from Merriam-Webster on wedlock

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wedlock

Nglish: Translation of wedlock for Spanish Speakers

Comments on wedlock

What made you want to look up wedlock? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!