marriage

noun

mar·​riage ˈmer-ij How to pronounce marriage (audio)
ˈma-rij
1
a
see usage paragraph below : the state of being united as spouses in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law
b
: the mutual relation of married persons : wedlock
c
: the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage
2
: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected
especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities
3
: an intimate or close union
the marriage of painting and poetryJ. T. Shawcross
Usage of Marriage

The definition of the word marriage—or, more accurately, the understanding of what the institution of marriage properly consists of—continues to be highly controversial. This is not an issue to be resolved by dictionaries. Ultimately, the controversy involves cultural traditions, religious beliefs, legal rulings, and ideas about fairness and basic human rights. The principal point of dispute has to do with marriage between two people of the same sex, often referred to as same-sex marriage or gay marriage. Same-sex marriages are now recognized by law in a growing number of countries and were legally validated throughout the U.S. by the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. In many other parts of the world, marriage continues to be allowed only between men and women. The definition of marriage shown here is intentionally broad enough to encompass the different types of marriage that are currently recognized in varying cultures, places, religions, and systems of law.

Examples of marriage in a Sentence

It was his second marriage. They have a very happy marriage. She has old-fashioned ideas about marriage. couples living together before marriage Many friends and relatives were present at their marriage. a priest who has performed many marriages a marriage of sweet and spicy flavors a marriage of science and art a marriage between form and function
Recent Examples on the Web The number of marriages in Japan declined by nearly 6% in 2023 from the previous year – dipping below 500,000 for the first time in 90 years, while divorces were up by 2.6% last year, according to official figures. Chris Lau, CNN, 4 Apr. 2024 Many Americans think that 1 in 2 marriages ends in divorce today. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 Apr. 2024 Additionally, of couples in sexless marriages, about 80% report feeling a lack of emotional closeness, and about 60% report feeling neglected by their partners. USA TODAY, 27 Mar. 2024 Senior Living in Los Gatos celebrated their military service and their successful marriages March 19 with a photo shoot. Isha Trivedi, The Mercury News, 26 Mar. 2024 So hopefully, that's a message that interracial marriages work. Stephanie Sengwe, Peoplemag, 21 Mar. 2024 Their trial marriages — Madlyn’s particularly horny one to Randall and Colby’s particularly sexless one to April — seemed to bring out all their worst problems. Charlotte Walsh, Vulture, 14 Mar. 2024 In the affidavit and other court records, she was identified as A.R., which were her initials from both of her marriages. Mike Hendricks, Kansas City Star, 22 Mar. 2024 The Ben Folds Five frontman detailed his prior marriages in an article for The Sydney Herald in September 2012. Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 21 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'marriage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of marriage was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near marriage

Cite this Entry

“Marriage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marriage. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

marriage

noun
mar·​riage ˈmar-ij How to pronounce marriage (audio)
1
a
: the state of being united as spouses in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law
b
: the mutual relation of married persons : wedlock
c
: the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage
2
: an act of marrying
especially : a wedding ceremony
3
: a close union
a marriage of music and verse

Legal Definition

marriage

noun
mar·​riage ˈmar-ij How to pronounce marriage (audio)
1
: the state of being united to a person as spouse in a legal, consensual, and contractual relationship recognized and sanctioned by and dissolvable only by law see also divorce,Obergefell v. Hodges compare civil union
2
: the ceremony containing certain legal formalities by which a marriage relationship is created

More from Merriam-Webster on marriage

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