es·​pouse | \ i-ˈspau̇z How to pronounce espouse (audio) also -ˈspau̇s \
espoused; espousing

Definition of espouse

transitive verb

1 : marry
2 : to take up and support as a cause : become attached to

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Other Words from espouse

espouser noun

Synonyms for espouse


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Choose the Right Synonym for espouse

adopt, embrace, espouse mean to take an opinion, policy, or practice as one's own. adopt implies accepting something created by another or foreign to one's nature. forced to adopt new policies embrace implies a ready or happy acceptance. embraced the customs of their new homeland espouse adds an implication of close attachment to a cause and a sharing of its fortunes. espoused the cause of women's rights

Commit to Learning the History of Espouse

As you might guess, the words "espouse" and "spouse" are related, both deriving from the Latin verb spondēre, meaning "to promise or betroth." In fact, the two were once completely interchangeable, with each serving as a noun meaning "a newly married person" or "a husband or wife" and also as a verb meaning "to marry." Their semantic separation began in the 17th century, when the noun "espouse" fell out of use. Around the same time, people started using the verb "espouse" figuratively to mean "to commit to and support a cause." "Spouse" continued to be used in both noun and verb forms until the 20th century, when its verb use declined and it came to be used mainly as a noun meaning "husband or wife."

Examples of espouse in a Sentence

The new theory has been espoused by many leading physicists. Those espousing unpopular views were often excluded.
Recent Examples on the Web Corrigan’s teachings don’t exactly mesh with the tenets of many religions that espouse an obligation to society, said Dr. Michael Grodin, an emeritus professor of health law, ethics and human rights at the Boston University School of Public Health., 18 Sep. 2021 And restaurants that publicly espouse a social-justice mission might be rewarded in some communities, but penalized in others. Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2021 Nine members of Spain’s squad have worked with Guardiola at some point; all of them have been brought up in academies that espouse his central principles. New York Times, 5 July 2021 Especially since former President Trump won the White House in 2016, it has become associated with right-leaning groups that espouse anti-immigrant, racist sentiments. Frances Solá-santiago,, 17 June 2021 The statements and actions have not resulted in any punishment from House Republican leaders, who have largely declined to publicly reprimand those in their conference who espouse fringe beliefs or peddle misinformation. New York Times, 5 July 2021 Those who espouse Christian-nationalist ideas also appeared to grow more militant during this period. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, 9 May 2021 Clubhouse isn’t just an opportunity for business leaders to inspire others or espouse their views. Josh Richards, Rolling Stone, 9 Apr. 2021 Politics and policy are among the weapons of Christians who espouse conspiratorial beliefs. Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune, 6 Feb. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for espouse

Middle English, from Anglo-French espuser, from Late Latin sponsare to betroth, from Latin sponsus betrothed — more at spouse

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Time Traveler for espouse

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The first known use of espouse was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Espouse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of espouse

: to express support for (a cause, belief, etc.)

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Nglish: Translation of espouse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of espouse for Arabic Speakers


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