Definition of marriage in English:


Syllabification: mar·riage
Pronunciation: /ˈmarij


  • 1The formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife: a happy marriage the children from his first marriage
    More example sentences
    • For federal purposes like taxes, the law declares that marriage exclusively means the union of one man and one woman.
    • At the same time, the bride's family had little control over the dowry after marriage; a husband could use his wife's money as he wished.
    • Although there are innumerable legislative changes, the terms husband, wife and marriage will be retained in all existing law.
    wedding, wedding ceremony, marriage ceremony, nuptials, union
  • 1.1(In some jurisdictions) a formal union between partners of the same sex.
  • 1.2The state of being married: they were celebrating 50 years of marriage
    More example sentences
    • But with large numbers of unions still ending in divorce and many couples choosing to cohabit and raise children out of wedlock, has marriage had its day?
    • But real equality is reached when marriage is opened for gay people as well.
    • In 1985, they were guaranteed legal equality with men within marriage.
    (holy) matrimony, wedlock
  • 2A combination or mixture of two or more elements: a marriage of jazz, pop, blues, and gospel
    More example sentences
    • The marriage between jazz music and dance has always been a passionate one.
    • What does the marriage of these two elements produce?
    • A politico-military marriage combines lethal and nonlethal force to convince an enemy to accede to the victor's will.
  • 2.1(In pinochle and other card games) a combination of a king and queen of the same suit.
    More example sentences
    • The rule requiring the bidder to have at least a marriage in the trump suit is not always followed.
    • After taking a trick a player can announce a marriage (the K and Q of the same suit) for 5 extra points for the team.
    • A-T-K-K-Q-Q-J of trumps would score 190 for a run plus a marriage in trumps.


by marriage

As a result of a marriage: a distant cousin by marriage
More example sentences
  • Olga was 16 in early 1914 when she met Mikhail Chekhov, her first cousin by marriage.
  • Remember, it is forbidden to fall out with your family, whether they are blood relations or relatives by marriage, distant relatives or whatever.
  • They were distant relatives, uncles and aunts by marriage, cousins-in-law, and more cousins second and third removed.

in marriage

As husband or wife: he asked my father for my hand in marriage
More example sentences
  • My job was to woo Ebony, the wife of the deceased, to gain her hand in marriage.
  • He couldn't imagine giving his daughter in marriage to anyone below his status.
  • If I did that that would be as good as accepting him in marriage and I would never marry without love.

marriage of convenience

A marriage concluded to achieve a practical purpose.
More example sentences
  • This marriage of convenience enabled Pamela to stay in the country.
  • It's a marriage of convenience. MAYBE one day they will both come out and admit the marriage was a sham. Maybe they won't.
  • Also in situation when the child is involved the grounds of marriage of convenience shouldn't be used.


Middle English: from Old French mariage, from marier 'marry'.

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a small amount; a little