Definition of marriage in US English:

marriage

noun

  • 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’
    • ‘Only men attend the actual marriage vows, which take place in a mosque.’
    • ‘Many of these unions grew into happy and successful marriages.’
    • ‘Until 1982, all marriages occurred in churches, but civil marriages have been legal since that time.’
    • ‘Nothing tied him down - no restrictions, no regulations, no marriage vows.’
    • ‘Improving your marriage brings great rewards.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For federal purposes like taxes, the law declares that marriage exclusively means the union of one man and one woman.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He claims to have separated 11 months after the marriage due to the wife's infidelities.’
    • ‘When they returned a few hours later, Jeff showed Charlie the marriage license.’
    • ‘When son Billy was three, his parents' marriage broke down and his father left.’
    • ‘George often wondered why his parents' marriage was lasting as long as it had.’
    • ‘The couple's marriage was annulled nine days later.’
    • ‘"My second marriage had ended, and I was having a breakdown, " she says.’
    • ‘In an effort to annul an arranged marriage, Apu tells his mother he wed Marge.’
    • ‘There is only one type of marriage recognized in law, and that is one of indefinite duration.’
    • ‘At the time of marriage, the wife was 27 years of age and was a corporate bond trader.’
    • ‘He only discovered her duplicity when he found a marriage certificate in her handbag.’
    • ‘Community property is generally the property a husband and wife accumulate during marriage.’
    • ‘She had been refused free NHS treatment because her husband has children from a previous marriage.’
    • ‘She refused several of his marriage proposals, but she finally relented and they got married in 1962.’
    • ‘Strong marriages or partnerships do not just happen; they require effort.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each year after that historic ruling, the percentage of Americans who opposed interracial marriage steadily dropped.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My wife's daughter from her previous marriage is coming to stay with us for a few days.’
    • ‘She seems to have painted little after her marriage in 1640.’
    • ‘At the same time, the bride's family had little control over the dowry after marriage; a husband could use his wife's money as he wished.’
    • ‘His common-law marriage broke up in 2000 when his wife picked up an old cocaine habit.’
    • ‘My name is Steve, and I will be performing your marriage ceremony today.’
    • ‘It was indeed mentally invigorating to enter into a debate on arranged marriages versus love marriages.’
    • ‘Serious ill-health and in 1951 the break-up of his marriage increased his problems.’
    • ‘We have about 12 weddings a year and last year we did a marriage vows renewal service which went very well.’
    • ‘Religious marriages were celebrated, but the state recognized only civil marriages performed by civil officials.’
    • ‘He is married now, has been 10 years in common law marriage and has given birth to two children in that union.’
    • ‘I'd been the one he told when his parents' marriage was breaking up.’
    • ‘He then discusses marriage vows, the history of divorce, and modern reinterpretations.’
    • ‘Although there are innumerable legislative changes, the terms husband, wife and marriage will be retained in all existing law.’
    • ‘And it's easy to sympathise with that, after years of supposedly happy marriage suddenly collapsing around her.’
    • ‘While Bernadette and Patrick did exchange wedding vows, their marriage is not legally binding.’
    wedding, wedding ceremony, marriage ceremony, nuptials, union
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The state of being married.
      ‘they were 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.’
      • ‘A former British soldier and his German bride, who overcame prejudice in post-war Germany, were today celebrating 50 years of marriage.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘People often pose the question in terms of social equality, but marriage is also an institution of economic rights.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Their research showed that marriage brings such life-enhancing benefits as lower blood pressure, improved diet and enhanced mental well-being.’
      • ‘A couple's wartime romance led to 60 years of marriage.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But then, I thought that's what marriage was about.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘A York family marks 75 years of marriage today - as parents and daughter celebrate their golden and silver weddings respectively.’
      matrimony, holy matrimony, wedlock, married state, conjugal bond, civil partnership
      View synonyms
  • 2A combination or mixture of two or more elements.

    ‘a marriage of jazz, pop, blues, and gospel’
    • ‘His unique marriage of African music and Christian gospel has prompted legendary artists, like Paul Simon, to record with the group.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The marriage between jazz music and dance has always been a passionate one.’
    • ‘What does the marriage of these two elements produce?’
    union, alliance, fusion, amalgamation, combination, affiliation, association, connection, coupling, merger, unification
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 (in pinochle and other card games) a combination of a king and queen of the same suit.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A-T-K-K-Q-Q-J of trumps would score 190 for a run plus a marriage in trumps.’
      • ‘The rule requiring the bidder to have at least a marriage in the trump suit is not always followed.’

Phrases

  • by marriage

    • As a result of a marriage.

      ‘a distant cousin by marriage’
      • ‘The sense of family identity extended to grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and relatives by marriage.’
      • ‘She was some sort of cousin by marriage to Antonia's mother and the pair would sometimes engage in conversation.’
      • ‘That commitment is then reinforced by the web of familial and other relations, created by marriage, that they have around them.’
      • ‘The terms of the order prevent him downloading or viewing images of children under the age of 16 unless they are blood relatives, relatives by marriage or godchildren.’
      • ‘Rather than make recommendations it invites further discussion by citing a number of options, one of which is to remove all restrictions based on relationships by marriage.’
      • ‘The two men, who are related by marriage, were seriously wounded.’
      • ‘Olga was 16 in early 1914 when she met Mikhail Chekhov, her first cousin by marriage.’
      • ‘The definition does not include your cousins or any relations by marriage.’
      • ‘Remember, it is forbidden to fall out with your family, whether they are blood relations or relatives by marriage, distant relatives or whatever.’
      • ‘They were distant relatives, uncles and aunts by marriage, cousins-in-law, and more cousins second and third removed.’
  • in marriage

    • As husband or wife.

      ‘he asked my father for my hand in marriage’
      • ‘Her father offers him her hand in marriage, and she sits uncomfortably as they joke about this.’
      • ‘Nearly seventy years ago, during a visit to the falls, he asked Jenny for her hand in marriage.’
      • ‘He couldn't imagine giving his daughter in marriage to anyone below his status.’
      • ‘James IV of Scotland welcomed him and gave him his cousin in marriage.’
      • ‘She takes him home and he asks her father for her hand in marriage.’
      • ‘If the woodcutter finds the key and opens the door, he will win the hand of the king's daughter in marriage and all his riches.’
      • ‘My job was to woo Ebony, the wife of the deceased, to gain her hand in marriage.’
      • ‘If I did that that would be as good as accepting him in marriage and I would never marry without love.’
      • ‘In two days time he would be back in Ireland and offer his hand in marriage to that beautiful young girl.’
      • ‘I am sorry for the silent treatment, but I was under the impression you were a duke that was coming to ask for my sister's hand in marriage.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

marriage

/ˈmɛrɪdʒ//ˈmerij/