Definition of marriage in English:



  • 1The legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship (historically and in some jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman)

    ‘a happy marriage’
    ‘the children from his first marriage’
    [as modifier] ‘marriage vows’
    • ‘Improving your marriage brings great rewards.’
    • ‘Serious ill-health and in 1951 the break-up of his marriage increased his problems.’
    • ‘The husband submits that the marriage was not a traditional one wherein the wife sacrificed her career in order to stay at home to care for children.’
    • ‘She seems to have painted little after her marriage in 1640.’
    • ‘It is anyway a false distinction to divide marriages into the happy and the unhappy, and to say that when they are happy, ownership is unimportant.’
    • ‘A man who was in a coma for six weeks after a road accident and can't remember his wedding has renewed his marriage vows to his wife who is helping him back to health.’
    • ‘Nothing tied him down - no restrictions, no regulations, no marriage vows.’
    • ‘My name is Steve, and I will be performing your marriage ceremony today.’
    • ‘He claims to have separated 11 months after the marriage due to the wife's infidelities.’
    • ‘By working less and staying at home more, I believed naively that my husband would come home to domestic bliss and a happy marriage would ensue.’
    • ‘Many of these unions grew into happy and successful marriages.’
    • ‘It was indeed mentally invigorating to enter into a debate on arranged marriages versus love marriages.’
    • ‘He only discovered her duplicity when he found a marriage certificate in her handbag.’
    • ‘She refused several of his marriage proposals, but she finally relented and they got married in 1962.’
    • ‘When they returned a few hours later, Jeff showed Charlie the marriage license.’
    • ‘She had been refused free NHS treatment because her husband has children from a previous marriage.’
    • ‘While Bernadette and Patrick did exchange wedding vows, their marriage is not legally binding.’
    • ‘We have about 12 weddings a year and last year we did a marriage vows renewal service which went very well.’
    • ‘Strong marriages or partnerships do not just happen; they require effort.’
    • ‘My wife's daughter from her previous marriage is coming to stay with us for a few days.’
    wedding, wedding ceremony, marriage ceremony, nuptials, union
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    1. 1.1[mass noun]The state of being married.
      ‘they were celebrating 50 years of marriage’
      • ‘A couple's wartime romance led to 60 years of marriage.’
      • ‘Was it conservative to insist that she would not allow marriage and family to stand in the way of her legal studies or, once called to the Bar, her career as a lawyer?’
      • ‘People often pose the question in terms of social equality, but marriage is also an institution of economic rights.’
      • ‘Their research showed that marriage brings such life-enhancing benefits as lower blood pressure, improved diet and enhanced mental well-being.’
      • ‘But then, I thought that's what marriage was about.’
      • ‘It's a very American piece, like a sketch show, a revue about love, dating, marriage, children, divorce, death, so we go from being eight to 80 in the show.’
      • ‘A former British soldier and his German bride, who overcame prejudice in post-war Germany, were today celebrating 50 years of marriage.’
      • ‘They were both factory hands when they married at the age of 19 and 22 and spent their first year of marriage in Calne, before moving to Melksham in 1933.’
      • ‘But asserting that loss of individuality within marriage is still primarily a female problem is a point that seems much harder to argue in a world where roles are shifting all the time.’
      • ‘With National Marriage Week starting today and Valentine's Day looming we spoke to two very different couples and one divorcee about their experiences of marriage.’
      • ‘A York family marks 75 years of marriage today - as parents and daughter celebrate their golden and silver weddings respectively.’
      • ‘But with large numbers of unions still ending in divorce and many couples choosing to cohabit and raise children out of wedlock, has marriage had its day?’
      matrimony, holy matrimony, wedlock, married state, conjugal bond, civil partnership
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  • 2A combination or mixture of elements.

    ‘her music is a marriage of funk, jazz, and hip-hop’
    • ‘The marriage between jazz music and dance has always been a passionate one.’
    • ‘What does the marriage of these two elements produce?’
    • ‘Well, our music has always been a marriage of techno, house and trance elements - dark and deep.’
    • ‘A politico-military marriage combines lethal and nonlethal force to convince an enemy to accede to the victor's will.’
    • ‘His unique marriage of African music and Christian gospel has prompted legendary artists, like Paul Simon, to record with the group.’
    union, alliance, fusion, amalgamation, combination, affiliation, association, connection, coupling, merger, unification
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    1. 2.1(in bezique and other card games) a combination of a king and queen of the same suit.
      • ‘The rule requiring the bidder to have at least a marriage in the trump suit is not always followed.’
      • ‘A-T-K-K-Q-Q-J of trumps would score 190 for a run plus a marriage in trumps.’
      • ‘After taking a trick a player can announce a marriage (the K and Q of the same suit) for 5 extra points for the team.’


Middle English: from Old French mariage, from marier marry.