- Also called opposite-sex marriage. the form of this institution under which a man and a woman have established their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.See also traditional marriage(def 2).
- this institution expanded to include two partners of the same gender, as in same-sex marriage; gay marriage.
Origin of marriage
Can be confusedmarriage wedding (see synonym study at the current entry)
- "The universality of marriage within different societies and cultures is attributed to the many basic social and personal functions for which it provides structure, such as sexual gratification and regulation, division of labor between the sexes, economic production and consumption, and satisfaction of personal needs for affection, status, and companionship. Perhaps its strongest function concerns procreation, the care of children and their education and socialization, and regulation of lines of descent."Encyclopædia Britannica (accessed June 21, 2012)
- "There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage."-Martin Luther (1566) ed. Leonard Roy Frank quoted in Random House Webster's Quotationary (1999)
- "The ideal that marriage aims at is that of spiritual union through the physical. The human love that it incarnates is intended to serve as a stepping stone to divine or universal love."-Mohandas K. Gandhi (1931) ed. Leonard Roy Frank quoted in Random House Webster's Quotationary (1999)
- "I, [name], take you, [name], for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."The Catholic Rite of Marriage
- "Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments. Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds, / Or bends with the remover to remove."-William Shakespeare Sonnet 116 (first published in 1609)
- "[Nobel laureate Wislawa] Szymborska’s poems are intimate, while [Jenny] Holzer’s light show is grandly public. The unlikely marriage of opposites gives the poems a terrific urgency and fills the big hall with infectious mental energy."-Ken Johnson Jenny Holzer Makes Light of Poems and Beats Swords Into Paintings The New York Times (December 26, 2007)
Multiple wives, for example, proliferate in the Bible. King Solomon famously had 700, although most were apparently instruments of political alliance rather than participants in royal romance. (For that, he had 300 concubines.)
Marriage can be sanctioned legally or religiously, and typically confers upon married people a special legal status with particular rights, benefits, and obligations. Access to this special status has changed over time. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage as recently as 1967, while same-sex marriage, which for some time had been banned in many states or ignored in others, was in 2015 ruled a constitutional right for all Americans.
Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is the most common definition of the term in the Western world today—this in spite of the prevalence on the one hand of divorce (enabling people to marry several different partners in sequence), and on the other, of an increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage. And as society becomes more inclusive, it is likely that “equal protection under the law” will be fully applied to same-sex couples.
In crafting definitions for a word that represents an institution that is rapidly evolving, the dictionary may well have to keep adding, changing, and reordering senses, splitting or combining them as the institution changes. Inevitably, those who want to preserve what they cherish as traditional values will resist new definitions, while those who anticipate, welcome, and fight for societal change will be impatient when new definitions do not appear as quickly as they would wish. But we should all remember that while it is not the job of a dictionary to drive social change, it is inevitable that it will reflect such change.
Examples from the Web for marriage
So, Islamized teaching sends girls back home for marriage and housework, and remains exclusively for boys.Houellebecq’s Incendiary Novel Imagines France With a Muslim President|Pierre Assouline|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Andrew and Fergie separated in 1992 after six years of marriage and formally divorced in 1996.
Maybe Mary is being more realistic about a second marriage—but is it too much to ask for a little fire?
“In America 100 percent of men have free sexual relations after marriage,” he said in another speech, which was aired on TV.50 Shades of Iran: The Mullahs’ Kinky Fantasies about Sex in the West|IranWire, Shima Sharabi|January 1, 2015|DAILY BEAST
E.J. Graff, senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, is the author of What Is Marriage For?The Real Story Behind the Fight for Marriage Equality|E.J. Graff|December 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It's a very old song now, and bring us as fast as you can to the castle and the marriage.
One of them, a very popular and well-to-do gentleman, made her an offer of marriage.A Little Girl in Old Washington|Amanda M. Douglas
Forbid all association or consent cheerfully to the marriage.Searchlights on Health: Light on Dark Corners|B.G. Jefferis
Yet how could he have held the pistol to her head, saying, "No marriage, no elopement."The Incredible Honeymoon|E. Nesbit
She had been faithful to her marriage vow, till certain news of your death reached her.Seven Frozen Sailors|George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for marriage
- the legal union or contract made by two people to live together
- (as modifier)marriage licence; marriage certificate