noun(usually the levirate)
- A custom of the ancient Hebrews and other peoples by which a man may be obliged to marry his brother’s widow: [as modifier]: levirate marriagesMore example sentences
- Such societies may also practice the levirate (widows marrying brothers or cousins of their deceased spouse).
- The institution of the levirate marriage made it possible that her fertility could build up the ‘house’ of her husband's family, while the birth of a child would provide the bond which would give her a secure place within the household.
- Clearly for her, the institution of the levirate was of no help, since she would not be able to bear a son for her dead husband's household.
early 18th century: from Latin levir 'brother-in-law' + -ate1.
More definitions of levirateDefinition of levirate in:
- The British & World English dictionary