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marriage

[mar-ij] /ˈmær ɪdʒ/
noun
1.
(broadly) any of the diverse forms of interpersonal union established in various parts of the world to form a familial bond that is recognized legally, religiously, or socially, granting the participating partners mutual conjugal rights and responsibilities and including, for example, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, plural marriage, and arranged marriage:
Anthropologists say that some type of marriage has been found in every known human society since ancient times.
See Word Story at the current entry.
2.
  1. Also called opposite-sex marriage. the form of this institution under which a man and a woman have established their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.
    See also traditional marriage (def 2).
  2. this institution expanded to include two partners of the same gender, as in same-sex marriage; gay marriage.
3.
the state, condition, or relationship of being married; wedlock:
They have a happy marriage.
Synonyms: matrimony.
4.
the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of two people to live as a married couple, including the accompanying social festivities:
to officiate at a marriage.
Antonyms: divorce, annulment.
5.
a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other in the manner of a husband and wife, without legal sanction:
trial marriage.
6.
any close or intimate association or union:
the marriage of words and music in a hit song.
7.
a formal agreement between two companies or enterprises to combine operations, resources, etc., for mutual benefit; merger.
8.
a blending or matching of different elements or components:
The new lipstick is a beautiful marriage of fragrance and texture.
9.
Cards. a meld of the king and queen of a suit, as in pinochle.
Compare royal marriage.
10.
a piece of antique furniture assembled from components of two or more authentic pieces.
11.
Obsolete. the formal declaration or contract by which act a man and a woman join in wedlock.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English mariage < Old French, equivalent to mari(er) to marry1 + -age -age
Related forms
nonmarriage, noun
postmarriage, noun, adjective
premarriage, noun
promarriage, adjective
remarriage, noun
Can be confused
marriage, wedding (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonym Study
4. Marriage, wedding, nuptials are terms for the ceremony uniting couples in wedlock. Marriage is the simple and usual term, without implications as to circumstances and without emotional connotations: to announce the marriage of a daughter. Wedding has rather strong emotional, even sentimental, connotations, and suggests the accompanying festivities, whether elaborate or simple: a beautiful wedding; a reception after the wedding. Nuptials is a formal and lofty word applied to the ceremony and attendant social events; it does not have emotional connotations but strongly implies surroundings characteristic of wealth, rank, pomp, and grandeur: royal nuptials. It appears frequently on newspaper society pages chiefly as a result of the attempt to avoid continual repetition of marriage and wedding.
Word story
Marriage has never had just one meaning. Adjectives commonly used with the word reveal the institution’s diversity, among them traditional, religious, civil, arranged, gay, plural, group, open, heterosexual, common-law, interracial, same-sex, polygamous, and monogamous. And this diversity has been in evidence, if not since the beginning of time, at least since the beginning of marriage itself, roughly some 4000 years ago.
Multiple wives, for example, proliferate in the Bible. King Solomon famously had 700, although most were apparently instruments of political alliance rather than participants in royal romance. (For that, he had 300 concubines.)
Marriage can be sanctioned legally or religiously, and typically confers upon married people a special legal status with particular rights, benefits, and obligations. Access to this special status has changed over time. Interracial marriages, for example, were legalized in the United States by the Supreme Court as recently as 1967, and as of this writing, same-sex marriage, while banned in some states and ignored in some, is recognized in others.
Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is the most common definition of the term in the Western world today—this in spite of the prevalence on the one hand of divorce (enabling people to marry several different partners in sequence), and on the other, of an increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage. And as society becomes more inclusive, it is likely that “equal protection under the law” will be further extended to same-sex couples.
In crafting definitions for a word that represents an institution that is rapidly evolving, the dictionary may well have to keep adding, changing, and reordering senses, splitting or combining them as the institution changes. Inevitably, those who want to preserve what they cherish as traditional values will resist new definitions, while those who anticipate, welcome, and fight for societal change will be impatient when new definitions do not appear as quickly as they would wish. But we should all remember that while it is not the job of a dictionary to drive social change, it is inevitable that it will reflect such change.
Related Quotations
“The universality of marriage within different societies and cultures is attributed to the many basic social and personal functions for which it provides structure, such as sexual gratification and regulation, division of labor between the sexes, economic production and consumption, and satisfaction of personal needs for affection, status, and companionship. Perhaps its strongest function concerns procreation, the care of children and their education and socialization, and regulation of lines of descent.“ Encyclopædia Britannica (accessed June 21, 2012)
“Is there any word currently more contested in our culture than marriage?…When definitions are at stake, as in the marriage debates, the dictionary can become a political football.…But are dictionaries really ‘our sources for what words mean’? That imparts a social power to lexicographers that they themselves would likely disavow: To them, dictionaries merely reflect common usage.“
—Ben Zimmer, “The fight over defining marriage, literally: Can you change the world by changing the dictionary?“ The Boston Globe (June 10, 2012)
“[A] number of courts have concluded that laws denying the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples violate the principles of equality established in their state constitutions.“
—Jeffrey M. Shaman, Equality and Liberty in the Golden Age of State Constitutional Law (2008)
“Do you think marriages between gay and lesbian couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?“
—posted by CNN Political Unit, “CNN Poll: Americans' attitudes toward gay community changing“ politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com (May 29-31, 2012)
“There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.“
—Martin Luther (1566), quoted in Random House Webster's Quotationary ed. Leonard Roy Frank (1999)
“The ideal that marriage aims at is that of spiritual union through the physical. The human love that it incarnates is intended to serve as a stepping stone to divine or universal love.“
—Mohandas K. Gandhi (1931), quoted in Random House Webster's Quotationary ed. Leonard Roy Frank (1999)
“I, [name], take you, [name], for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.“ The Catholic Rite of Marriage
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments. Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds, / Or bends with the remover to remove.“
—William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116 (first published in 1609)
“[Nobel laureate Wislawa] Szymborska’s poems are intimate, while [Jenny] Holzer’s light show is grandly public. The unlikely marriage of opposites gives the poems a terrific urgency and fills the big hall with infectious mental energy.“
—Ken Johnson, “Jenny Holzer Makes Light of Poems and Beats Swords Into Paintings“ The New York Times (December 26, 2007)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for same sex marriage

marriage

/ˈmærɪdʒ/
noun
1.
the state or relationship of living together in a legal partnership
2.
  1. the legal union or contract made by two people to live together
  2. (as modifier): marriage licence, marriage certificate
3.
the religious or legal ceremony formalizing this union; wedding
4.
a close or intimate union, relationship, etc: a marriage of ideas
5.
(in certain card games, such as bezique, pinochle) the king and queen of the same suit
related
adjectives conjugal marital nuptial
Word Origin
C13: from Old French; see marry1, -age
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 same sex marriage

marriage

n.

c.1300, "action of marrying, entry into wedlock;" also "state or condition of being husband and wife, matrimony, wedlock;" from Old French mariage "marriage; dowry" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *maritaticum (11c.), from Latin maritatus, past participle of maritatre "to wed, marry, give in marriage" (see marry (v.)). The Vulgar Latin word also is the source of Italian maritaggio, Spanish maridaje.

Meaning "a union of a man and woman for life by marriage, a particular matrimonial union" is early 14c. Meanings "the marriage vow, formal declaration or contract by which two join in wedlock;" also "a wedding, celebration of a marriage; the marriage ceremony" are from late 14c. Figurative use (non-theological) "intimate union, a joining as if by marriage" is from early 15c.

[W]hen two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition until death do them part. [G.B. Shaw, preface to "Getting Married," 1908]
Marriage counseling recorded by 1939. Marriage bed, figurative of marital intercourse generally, is attested from 1580s (bed of marriage is from early 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for same sex marriage

marriage

Related Terms

shotgun wedding


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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same sex marriage in the Bible

was instituted in Paradise when man was in innocence (Gen. 2:18-24). Here we have its original charter, which was confirmed by our Lord, as the basis on which all regulations are to be framed (Matt. 19:4, 5). It is evident that monogamy was the original law of marriage (Matt. 19:5; 1 Cor. 6:16). This law was violated in after times, when corrupt usages began to be introduced (Gen. 4:19; 6:2). We meet with the prevalence of polygamy and concubinage in the patriarchal age (Gen. 16:1-4; 22:21-24; 28:8, 9; 29:23-30, etc.). Polygamy was acknowledged in the Mosaic law and made the basis of legislation, and continued to be practised all down through the period of Jewish histroy to the Captivity, after which there is no instance of it on record. It seems to have been the practice from the beginning for fathers to select wives for their sons (Gen. 24:3; 38:6). Sometimes also proposals were initiated by the father of the maiden (Ex. 2:21). The brothers of the maiden were also sometimes consulted (Gen. 24:51; 34:11), but her own consent was not required. The young man was bound to give a price to the father of the maiden (31:15; 34:12; Ex. 22:16, 17; 1 Sam. 18:23, 25; Ruth 4:10; Hos. 3:2) On these patriarchal customs the Mosaic law made no change. In the pre-Mosaic times, when the proposals were accepted and the marriage price given, the bridegroom could come at once and take away his bride to his own house (Gen. 24:63-67). But in general the marriage was celebrated by a feast in the house of the bride's parents, to which all friends were invited (29:22, 27); and on the day of the marriage the bride, concealed under a thick veil, was conducted to her future husband's home. Our Lord corrected many false notions then existing on the subject of marriage (Matt. 22:23-30), and placed it as a divine institution on the highest grounds. The apostles state clearly and enforce the nuptial duties of husband and wife (Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18, 19; 1 Pet. 3:1-7). Marriage is said to be "honourable" (Heb. 13:4), and the prohibition of it is noted as one of the marks of degenerate times (1 Tim. 4:3). The marriage relation is used to represent the union between God and his people (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 3:1-14; Hos. 2:9, 20). In the New Testament the same figure is employed in representing the love of Christ to his saints (Eph. 5:25-27). The Church of the redeemed is the "Bride, the Lamb's wife" (Rev. 19:7-9).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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