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common-law marriage

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noun
  1. a marriage without a civil or ecclesiastical ceremony, generally resulting from an agreement to marry followed by the couple's living together.

Origin of common-law marriage

First recorded in 1905–10
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
common-law marriage in Culture

common-law marriage

A legal marriage brought about by the cohabitation of a man and a woman, or by their agreement to consider themselves married, rather than by a wedding. (See common law.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.