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[bih-trohth , -trawth] /bɪˈtroʊð, -ˈtrɔθ/
verb (used with object)
to arrange for the marriage of; affiance (usually used in passive constructions):
The couple was betrothed with the approval of both families.
Archaic. to promise to marry.
Origin of betroth
1275-1325; Middle English betrouthe, variant of betreuthe (be- be- + treuthe truth; see troth)
1. engage, promise, pledge, plight. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for betroth
Historical Examples
  • I will betroth her to your nephew, my beloved Montagu's son.

    The Last Of The Barons, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • I betroth thee unto me according to the Law of Moses and Israel.

  • It was the custom to betroth before marriage, as it is at this day.

    Finger-Ring Lore William Jones
  • I only say, For six months to come, betroth yourself to no other man.

  • They wished to betroth me to another; thou art the one to whom my soul is betrothed.

    French Classics William Cleaver Wilkinson
  • Has Nina your leave to betroth herself to the Jew, Trendellsohn?

    Nina Balatka Anthony Trollope
  • I went there not to meet death, but to betroth myself to it.

    Mauprat George Sand
  • My father did not betroth me to Mr. Mao, answered she, but if he had I should not require you to persuade me to accept him.

  • This will anger him greatly, for he wishes to betroth me to the son of the king of the Green City, whom I like not at all.'

    The Lilac Fairy Book Andrew Lang
  • In some countries it has even been customary to betroth girls conditionally before they were born.

    Plain Facts for Old and Young John Harvey Kellogg
British Dictionary definitions for betroth


(transitive) (archaic) to promise to marry or to give in marriage
Word Origin
C14 betreuthen, from be- + treuthetroth, truth
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
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Word Origin and History for betroth

c.1300, betrouthen, from bi-, here probably with a sense of "thoroughly," + Middle English treowðe "truth," from Old English treowðe "truth, a pledge" (see troth). Related: Betrothed; betrothing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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betroth in the Bible

to promise "by one's truth." Men and women were betrothed when they were engaged to be married. This usually took place a year or more before marriage. From the time of betrothal the woman was regarded as the lawful wife of the man to whom she was betrothed (Deut. 28:30; Judg. 14:2, 8; Matt. 1:18-21). The term is figuratively employed of the spiritual connection between God and his people (Hos. 2:19, 20).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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