[ noun spous, spouz; verb spouz, spous ]
/ noun spaʊs, spaʊz; verb spaʊz, spaʊs /


either member of a married pair in relation to the other; one's husband or wife.

verb (used with object), spoused, spous·ing.

Obsolete. to join, give, or take in marriage.

Origin of spouse

1150–1200; (noun) Middle English < Old French spous (masculine), spouse (feminine) (aphetic for espous, espouse) < Latin spōnsus, spōnsa literally, pledged (man, woman) (noun uses of past participle of spondēre to pledge), equivalent to spond- verb stem + -tus, -ta past participle suffix; (v.) Middle English spousen < Old French esp(o)user; cf. espouse
Related formsspouse·hood, nounspouse·less, adjectiveun·spoused, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spouse

British Dictionary definitions for spouse


noun (spaʊs, spaʊz)

a person's partner in marriageRelated adjective: spousal

verb (spaʊz, spaʊs)

(tr) obsolete to marry

Word Origin for spouse

C12: from Old French spus (masculine), spuse (feminine), from Latin sponsus, sponsa betrothed man or woman, from spondēre to promise solemnly
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

Word Origin and History for spouse



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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper