Definition of espouse in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Adopt or support (a cause, belief, or way of life)

    ‘he turned his back on the modernism he had espoused in his youth’
    • ‘He espouses the belief that true revolutionaries must anchor their efforts in an act of love of people and of life.’
    • ‘I write as a white, Anglo-Saxon male, brought up in the Christian tradition, but currently espousing no religious belief.’
    • ‘The conservatives staunchly supported it and espoused centralism versus federalism.’
    • ‘Though the novels being analyzed are very different, each espouses a belief in the need for artistic expression.’
    • ‘I am not espousing a political philosophy; I am espousing a decision-making methodology.’
    • ‘Some of the groups, the government fears, espouse beliefs that pose a direct challenge to its authority.’
    • ‘David espoused the belief that change and progress in medical practice could only be achieved from the inside and that to make it happen was always better than waiting for it to happen.’
    • ‘Gore has said that his new network will not espouse any particular political beliefs.’
    • ‘Psychologists espousing postmodernist views have adopted a similar position concerning scientific objectivity, recognizing the socially constructed nature of psychological knowledge.’
    • ‘At the outset, I must state that I am a Christian who firmly espouses the tenets of creation science.’
    • ‘Boyd espouses the belief that the faculty is there for the purpose of instructing students: politics should not impact the most fundamental and important feature of society.’
    • ‘That policy is to stop attacking countries that don't espouse Western values, and leave them to evolve in their own way at their own rate.’
    • ‘The constructivist approach to education espouses the belief that children are capable learners with many questions, ideas, feelings, and theories about their world.’
    • ‘Across the boundaries of national origin and cultural differences, integration into the American system was most often achieved by espousing the widely-shared values of consumption.’
    • ‘Many of the island's inhabitants, who share only a handful of surnames, espouse stern Baptist beliefs, one of which is that dancing is the devil's work.’
    adopt, embrace, take up, take to, take to one's heart, receive enthusiastically, receive wholeheartedly, accept, welcome
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  • 2archaic Marry.

    ‘Edward had espoused the lady Grey’
    • ‘My father, falling in love with a poor relation, espoused her privately; and I was the first fruit of that marriage.’
    wed, take to husband, take to wife, lead to the altar
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    1. 2.1be espoused to (of a woman) be engaged to (a particular man).
      • ‘Four years have I been espoused to our gracious King, Alban of Mann.’
      • ‘Thereafter it happened that the maid who escaped marriage with a lord, came to be espoused to Clovis, son of the former king Dagobert.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘take as a spouse’): from Old French espouser, from Latin sponsare, from sponsus ‘betrothed’, past participle of spondere.