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[n. spous, spouz; v. spouz, spous] /n. spaʊs, spaʊz; v. spaʊz, spaʊs/
either member of a married pair in relation to the other; one's husband or wife.
verb (used with object), spoused, spousing.
Obsolete. to join, give, or take in marriage.
1150-1200; (noun) Middle English < Old French spous (masculine), spouse (feminine) (aphetic for espous, espouse) < Latin spōnsus, spōnsa literally, pledged (man, woman) (noun uses of past participle of spondēre to pledge), equivalent to spond- verb stem + -tus, -ta past participle suffix; (v.) Middle English spousen < Old French esp(o)user; cf. espouse
Related forms
spousehood, noun
spouseless, adjective
unspoused, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spouses
  • The ban on agents crumbled within days, but the ban on spouses held.
  • The ones that still puzzle me, however, are the ones for spouses.
  • For unhappy spouses, divorce offers a way to escape a troubled or even abusive relationship and make a fresh start.
  • They'd recently left their spouses and moved in together.
  • Second, cousin marriages make it more likely that spouses will be compatible, particularly in an alien environment.
  • They haven't really spoken to their spouses and partners for months.
  • And, someone will always point out the spouses in a joint-appointment arrangement.
  • It is happy to attract the kind of long-term investors who bring their spouses with them.
  • Many foreigners today are threadbare students, overworked managers, trailing spouses.
  • Unless specifically invited, spouses typically don't attend.
British Dictionary definitions for spouses


noun (spaʊs; spaʊz)
a person's partner in marriage related adjective spousal
verb (spaʊz; spaʊs)
(transitive) (obsolete) to marry
Word Origin
C12: from Old French spus (masculine), spuse (feminine), from Latin sponsus, sponsa betrothed man or woman, from spondēre to promise solemnly
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 spouses



c.1200, "a married woman in relation to her husband" (also of men), from Old French spus (fem. spuse), from Latin sponsus "bridegroom" (fem. sponsa "bride"), from masc. and fem. past participle of spondere "to bind oneself, promise solemnly," from PIE *spend- "to make an offering, perform a rite" (see spondee). Spouse-breach (early 13c.) was an old name for "adultery."

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

(Cant. 4:8-12; Hos. 4:13, 14) may denote either husband or wife, but in the Scriptures it denotes only the latter.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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