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."