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levirate

[lev-er-it, -uh-reyt, lee-ver-it, -vuh-reyt] /ˈlɛv ər ɪt, -əˌreɪt, ˈli vər ɪt, -vəˌreɪt/
noun
1.
the custom of marriage by a man with his brother's widow, such marriage required in Biblical law if the deceased was childless. Deut. 25:5–10.
Origin
1715-1725
1715-25; < Latin lēvir husband's brother (akin to Greek dāḗr, Sanskrit devar, Old English tācor) + -ate3
Related forms
leviratic
[lev-uh-rat-ik, lee-vuh-] /ˌlɛv əˈræt ɪk, ˌli və-/ (Show IPA),
leviratical, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for levirate
  • Polygyny was practiced, usually sororal, and the levirate was also present.
British Dictionary definitions for levirate

levirate

/ˈlɛvɪrɪt/
noun
1.
the practice, required by Old Testament law, of marrying the widow of one's brother
Derived Forms
leviratic (ˌlɛvɪˈrætɪk), leviratical, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from Latin lēvir a husband's brother
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 levirate
n.

custom by which the male next-of-kin of a dead man was bound to marry his widow, 1725, from Latin levir "brother-in-law" (from PIE *daiwer- "husband's brother") + -ate (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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