levirate

[ lev-er-it, -uh-reyt, lee-ver-it, -vuh-reyt ]
/ ˈlɛv ər ɪt, -əˌreɪt, ˈli vər ɪt, -vəˌreɪt /

noun

the custom of marriage by a man with his brother's widow, such marriage required in Biblical law if the deceased was childless. Deut. 25:5–10.

Origin of levirate

1715–25; < Latin lēvir husband's brother (akin to Greek dāḗr, Sanskrit devar, Old English tācor) + -ate3

Related forms

lev·i·rat·ic [lev-uh-rat-ik, lee-vuh-] /ˌlɛv əˈræt ɪk, ˌli və-/, lev·i·rat·i·cal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for levirate

British Dictionary definitions for levirate

levirate

/ (ˈlɛvɪrɪt) /

noun

the practice, required by Old Testament law, of marrying the widow of one's brother

Derived Forms

leviratic (ˌlɛvɪˈrætɪk) or leviratical, adjective

Word Origin for levirate

C18: from Latin lēvir a husband's brother
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