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[noun spous, spouz; verb spouz, spous] /noun spaʊs, spaʊz; verb spaʊz, spaʊs/
either member of a married pair in relation to the other; one's husband or wife.
verb (used with object), spoused, spousing.
Obsolete. to join, give, or take in marriage.
Origin of spouse
1150-1200; (noun) Middle English < Old French spous (masculine), spouse (feminine) (aphetic for espous, espouse) < Latin spōnsus, spōnsa literally, pledged (man, woman) (noun uses of past participle of spondēre to pledge), equivalent to spond- verb stem + -tus, -ta past participle suffix; (v.) Middle English spousen < Old French esp(o)user; cf. espouse
Related forms
spousehood, noun
spouseless, adjective
unspoused, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for spouse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Her voice was pleasant as she asked: "Martin, did you hear your spouse just now?"

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • I am told he even built a mansion for her while the spouse was in London on business.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • The spouse of the Yellow Lord is mentioned in the same connection.

  • Her duty accomplished, she was now returning to him, for she was spouse as well as mother.

    Fruitfulness Emile Zola
  • "And of course he said nothing of the kind," retorted his spouse.

British Dictionary definitions for spouse


noun (spaʊs; spaʊz)
a person's partner in marriage related adjective spousal
verb (spaʊz; spaʊs)
(transitive) (obsolete) to marry
Word Origin
C12: from Old French spus (masculine), spuse (feminine), from Latin sponsus, sponsa betrothed man or woman, from spondēre to promise solemnly
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for spouse

c.1200, "a married woman in relation to her husband" (also of men), from Old French spus (fem. spuse), from Latin sponsus "bridegroom" (fem. sponsa "bride"), from masc. and fem. past participle of spondere "to bind oneself, promise solemnly," from PIE *spend- "to make an offering, perform a rite" (see spondee). Spouse-breach (early 13c.) was an old name for "adultery."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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