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. 2019
Culture definitions for 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.