[ mon-tuh-gyoo ]
/ ˈmɒn təˌgyu /
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(in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet) the family name of Romeo.Compare Capulet.
William Pep·per·ell [pep-er-uhl], /ˈpɛp ər əl/, 1873–1953, U.S. philosopher.
a male given name.


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does Montague mean?

Montague is the family name of the character Romeo from William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo is the son of Lord and Lady Montague. The house of Montague is in a bitter feud with the house of Capulet for reasons never revealed in the play. Other characters on the side of the Montagues include Lord Montague’s nephew Benvolio, Romeo’s friend Mercutio, and the servants Abram and Balthasar.

In the play, Romeo falls in love with Juliet Capulet at first sight. Because of the feud, they meet in secret and eventually secretly get married. Later, Romeo is exiled from the city after killing Juliet’s cousin Tybalt out of revenge for Tybalt’s accidental killing of Mercutio.

Hearing of Romeo’s exile, Juliet devises a plan in which she fakes her own death so that she can meet Romeo in the Capulet family tomb. However, Romeo believes Juliet to actually be dead and kills himself with poison to join her in the afterlife. Upon discovering that Romeo is dead, Juliet stabs herself to death. The deaths of their children cause Lord Montague and Lord Capulet to end their feud.

Why is Montague important?

The house of Montague is one of the two central families in the play Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shaekespeare in the 1590s. Besides Shakespeare’s play, the name Montague is a family name of various people (such as philosopher William Montague) and the name of a variety of locations (such as Montague, Ontario in Canada).

Romeo Montague is portrayed as a romantic, who immediately falls in love with Juliet at the first sight of her. Given that Romeo had similarly fallen in love earlier with a woman named Rosaline, the audience is supposed to be skeptical of Romeo’s love at first. The events of the rest of the play prove how serious Romeo’s love for Juliet is.

Of the two families, the Montagues are often considered more sympathetic because Benvolio acts as a failed peacekeeper and Mercutio is an appealing  jokester who acts as Romeo’s wingman. However, the play makes it clear that the feud between Montague and Capulet is self-destructive and will only lead to tragedy.

Of the three Montagues we know, two of them die by the end of the play. Romeo poisons himself and his mother, Lady Montague, dies of grief after hearing of Romeo’s exile. Romeo’s cousin Romeo also dies, but it is unknown if he is a Montague by blood or marriage.

Did you know … ?

It is thought that the names Montague and Capulet were inspired by the rival Italian political factions, the Montecchi and the Capellini. These two factions are mentioned by name in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy from the 1300s.

What are real-life examples of Montague?

This illustration depicts Romeo Montague meeting Juliet Capulet outside of her balcony.


Because Shakespeare is often taught in school, many people are familiar with the Montague and Capulet feud.

What other words are related to Montague?

Quiz yourself!

True or False?

In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is a member of the Montague family.

How to use Montague in a sentence