One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Engagement or marriage.‘Jacques should not have entered into sponsalia if his first wife was still alive’
engagement, betrothment, marriage contractView synonyms
- ‘In the absence of either the ordinary or the parish priest, the law requires that two witnesses shall sign the sponsalia.’
- ‘What parish priest is the authorized witness of sponsalia?’
- ‘Parties to the sponsalia might still resile, and if they did, could not be compelled to complete the marriage.’
- ‘Tokens were customarily exchanged at the time of a sponsalia.’
- ‘In those days the formal procedure of a wedding scarcely differed from that of a betrothal and both these ceremonies could be called by the same name 'sponsalia'.’
Mid 16th century: Latin, ‘betrothal’, neuter plural of sponsalis (adjective), from sponsare ‘espouse, betroth’.
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