What does marriage mean?

Definitions for marriage
ˈmær ɪdʒmar·riage

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word marriage.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. marriage, matrimony, union, spousal relationship, wedlocknoun

    the state of being a married couple voluntarily joined for life (or until divorce)

    "a long and happy marriage"; "God bless this union"

  2. marriage, married couple, man and wifenoun

    two people who are married to each other

    "his second marriage was happier than the first"; "a married couple without love"

  3. marriage, wedding, marriage ceremonynoun

    the act of marrying; the nuptial ceremony

    "their marriage was conducted in the chapel"

  4. marriagenoun

    a close and intimate union

    "the marriage of music and dance"; "a marriage of ideas"


  1. marriagenoun

    The state of being married.

    You should enter marriage for love.

  2. marriagenoun

    The union of two (or sometimes more) people, usually to the exclusion of all others.

  3. marriagenoun

    A wedding; a ceremony in which people wed.

    You are cordially invited to the marriage of James Smith and Jane Doe.

  4. marriagenoun

    A close union.

  5. marriagenoun

    A joining of two parts.

  6. marriagenoun

    A king and a queen, when held as a hand in Texas hold 'em and some other card games.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Marriage

    is often used in composition.

    Neither her worthiness, which in truth was great, nor his own suffering for her, which is wont to endear affection, could fetter his fickleness; but, before the marriage-day appointed, he had taken to wife Baccha, of whom she complained. Philip Sidney, b. ii.

    I by the honour of my marriage-bed,
    After young Arthur, claim this land for mine. William Shakespeare.

    Thou shalt come into the marriage chamber. Tob. vi. 16.

    There on his arms and once lov’d portrait lay,
    Thither our fatal marriage-bed convey. John Denham.

    To these whom death again did wed,
    This grave’s the second marriage-bed:
    For though the hand of fate could force
    ’Twixt soul and body a divorce,
    It could not sever man and wife,
    Because they both liv’d but one life. Richard Crashaw.

    Give me, to live and die,
    A spotless maid, without the marriage-tie. Dryden.

    In a late draught of marriage-articles, a lady stipulated with her husband, that she shall be at liberty to patch on which side she pleases. Joseph Addison, Spect. №. 81.

    Virgin awake! the marriage-hour is nigh. Alexander Pope.

  2. Marriagenoun

    The act of uniting a man and woman for life.

    Etymology: mariage, French; maritagium, low Latin, from maritus.

    The marriage with his brother’s wife
    Has crept too near his conscience. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    If that thy bent of love be honourable,
    Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow. William Shakespeare.

    The French king would have the disposing of the marriage of Bretagne, with an exception, that he should not marry her himself. Francis Bacon.

    Some married persons, even in their marriage, do better please God than some virgins in their state of virginity: they, by giving great example of conjugal affection, by preserving their faith unbroken, and by educating children in the fear of God, please God in a higher degree than those virgins whose piety is not answerable to their opportunities. Taylor.

    I propose that Palamon shall be
    In marriage join’d with beauteous Emily. Dryden.


  1. Marriage

    Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouses. It establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. It is nearly a cultural universal, but the definition of marriage varies between cultures and religions, and over time. Typically, it is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually sexual, are acknowledged or sanctioned. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. A marriage ceremony is called a wedding. Individuals may marry for several reasons, including legal, social, libidinal, emotional, financial, spiritual, and religious purposes. Whom they marry may be influenced by gender, socially determined rules of incest, prescriptive marriage rules, parental choice, and individual desire. In some areas of the world, arranged marriage, child marriage, polygamy, and forced marriage are practiced. In other areas, such practices are outlawed to preserve women's rights or children's rights (both female and male) or as a result of international law. In some parts of the world, marriage has historically restricted the rights of women, who are (or were) considered the property of the husband. Around the world, primarily in developed democracies, there has been a general trend towards ensuring equal rights for women within marriage (including abolishing coverture, liberalizing divorce laws, and reforming reproductive and sexual rights) and legally recognizing the marriages of interfaith, interracial/interethnic/inter-caste, and same-sex couples. Controversies continue regarding the legal status of married women, leniency towards violence within marriage, customs such as dowry and bride price, forced marriage, marriageable age, and criminalization of premarital and extramarital sex. Female age at marriage has proven to be a strong indicator for female autonomy and is continuously used by economic history research.Marriage can be recognized by a state, an organization, a religious authority, a tribal group, a local community, or peers. It is often viewed as a contract. A religious marriage is performed by a religious institution to recognize and create the rights and obligations intrinsic to matrimony in that religion. Religious marriage is known variously as sacramental marriage in Catholicism, nikah in Islam, nissuin in Judaism, and various other names in other faith traditions, each with their own constraints as to what constitutes, and who can enter into, a valid religious marriage.


  1. marriage

    Marriage is a legally or socially recognized union or contract between two individuals, often involving cultural, religious, or legal rituals and commitments. It establishes rights and obligations between the individuals involved, and often involves aspects of economic unity, sexual relations, procreation, and mutual support. The definition of who can be married varies across cultures and legal jurisdictions, but it commonly refers to a partnership between two people typically recognized through a public ceremony.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Marriageverb

    the act of marrying, or the state of being married; legal union of a man and a woman for life, as husband and wife; wedlock; matrimony

  2. Marriageverb

    the marriage vow or contract

  3. Marriageverb

    a feast made on the occasion of a marriage

  4. Marriageverb

    any intimate or close union


  1. Marriage

    Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people called spouses that establishes rights and obligations between the spouses, between the spouses and their children, and between the spouses and their in-laws. The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal. In many cultures, marriage is formalized via a wedding ceremony. In terms of legal recognition, most sovereign states and other jurisdictions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples or two persons of opposite gender in the gender binary, and a diminishing number of these permit polygyny, child marriages, and forced marriages. In modern times, a growing number of countries and other jurisdictions have lifted bans on and have established legal recognition for same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, and interfaith marriage. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. People marry for many reasons, including: legal, social, libidinal, emotional, financial, spiritual, and religious. Marriages can be performed in a secular civil ceremony or in a religious setting. The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved. Some cultures allow the dissolution of marriage through divorce or annulment. Polygamous marriages may also occur in spite of national laws.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Marriage

    mar′ij, n. the ceremony by which a man and woman become husband and wife: the union of a man and woman as husband and wife.—adj. Marr′iageable, suitable, or at a proper age, for marriage.—ns. Marr′iageableness; Marr′iage-con′tract, an agreement to be married: an agreement respecting property by persons about to marry.—n.pl. Marr′iage-fā′vours, knots or decorations worn at a marriage.—n. Marr′iage-sett′lement, an arrangement of property, &c., before marriage, by which something is secured to the wife or her children, in case of her husband's death. [O. Fr. mariage. See Marry.]

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. marriage

    1. A legal or religious ceremony by which two persons of the opposite sex solemnly agree to harass and spy on each other for ninety-nine years, or until death do them join. 2. A way-station, not the end of the journey. 3. The aspiration of two vowels to be a diphthong. 4. Love's demitasse.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Marriage

    The social institution involving legal and/or religious sanction whereby men and women are joined together for the purpose of founding a family unit.

Editors Contribution

  1. marriagenoun

    A man's covenant signature of Trust built-in under the Most High word of honor addressing a "Woman" to be the bridesmaid beyond time. 0.) In the way of the ancient Sea places of worship most often associated with religions built on a elevated location. 1.) One's mother radiance like a very precious stone appearance of a long narrow inlet formed by the partial submergence of a broad street of pure gold, like transparent glass in motion as the bride, and wife of the Lamb. 2.) The formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by the law, by which they become husband and wife. The state of being married. 3.) A combination or mixture of two or more elements. A combination of a king and queen of the same suit.

    Just as Adam saw Eve and knew that she was part of him and he a part of her was a marriage like the one we read about the son of Man kingdom coming in revelation 21:10-11.

    Etymology: High place

    Submitted by Tony_Elyon on November 22, 2023  

  2. marriage

    A relationship created with mutual honesty, respect, trust, truthful communication, loyalty and unconditional love with the feeling, knowing and understanding a couple are united in a life partnership to share, grow and evolve together with mutual aspirations, goals and a united purpose, confirmed on an official unity governmental register.

    Marriage is a relationship that people choose to share, grow and evolve together with mutual aspirations, goals and a united purpose.

    Submitted by MaryC on September 17, 2016  

  3. marriage

    A type of union and ceremony cocreated by a couple at a specific location, signed on an official unity governmental register, following with a party of celebration.

    Marriage is a life commitment for two people who love each other to the depth of their souls.

    Submitted by MaryC on December 27, 2019  

Suggested Resources

  1. Marriage

    Wedding vs Marriage -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Wedding and Marriage.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Marriage is ranked #133048 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Marriage surname appeared 127 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Marriage.

    96% or 122 total occurrences were White.
    3.9% or 5 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'marriage' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1278

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'marriage' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2719

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'marriage' in Nouns Frequency: #548

How to pronounce marriage?

How to say marriage in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of marriage in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of marriage in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of marriage in a Sentence

  1. Helen Rowland:

    Before marriage, a man declares that he would lay down his life to serve you after marriage, he won't even lay down his newspaper to talk to you.

  2. Errol Stambler:

    Should the marriage be legitimate, then there's nothing wrong with brokering a marriage, if in fact the marriage is fraudulent, then it should be a crime for everybody, not just the people who would be the alleged arrangers of the marriage.

  3. Bobby Jindal:

    I support traditional marriage and we should reject attempts by the Obama administration to force same-sex marriage on all 50 states. The State Marriage Defense Act helps safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for their citizens.

  4. Gloria Steinem:

    Being able to support oneself allows one to choose a marriage out of love and not just economic dependence. It also allows one to risk that marriage.

  5. Andrew Schneider:

    Marriage. It's a hard term to define. Especially for me--I've ducked it like root canal. Still there's no denying the fact that marriage ranks right up there with birth and death as one of the three biggies in the human safari. It's the only one though that we'll celebrate with a conscious awareness. Very few of you remember your arrival and even fewer of you will attend your own funeral.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for marriage

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"marriage." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 10 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/marriage>.

Discuss these marriage definitions with the community:

1 Comment
  • Timeo Nyiroz
    Timeo Nyiroz
    what do the following words mean to you? Dating, Courtship and Marriage.any differences?
    LikeReply 49 years ago

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an exorbitant or unlawful rate of interest
  • A. serendipity
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