Marriage is when two people join together through a legal contract, a religious ceremony, or both.

In some cultures, marriage is arranged by families, and in others people choose their own husbands or wives if they decide to marry. There are some places where marriage is limited to unions between a man and a woman, while more and more states and countries recognize marriage between same-sex couples too. You can also use the noun marriage to talk about a more figurative link between two things: “The song was a strange marriage of Bavarian polka and punk rock.”

Definitions of marriage

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

“a long and happy marriage
matrimony, spousal relationship, union, wedlock
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having two spouses at the same time
common-law marriage
a marriage relationship created by agreement and cohabitation rather than by ceremony
endogamy, inmarriage, intermarriage
marriage within one's own tribe or group as required by custom or law
exogamy, intermarriage
marriage to a person belonging to a tribe or group other than your own as required by custom or law
marriage of convenience
a marriage for expediency rather than love
an unsuitable alliance (especially with regard to marriage)
the state of having only one husband at a time
monogamousness, monogamy
having only one spouse at a time
open marriage
a marriage in which each partner is free to enter into extraneous sexual relationships without guilt or jealousy from the other
the state of a husband whose wife has committed adultery
having more than one spouse at a time
a Shiite tradition of temporary marriage permitted in Iran that allows a couple to specify the terms of their relationship; can last from a few minutes to 99 years
a marriage with a person of inferior social status
having only one wife at a time
serial monogamy
a succession of short monogamous relationships (as by someone who undergoes multiple divorces)
having more than one husband at a time
having more than one wife at a time
Type of:
marital status
the condition of being married or unmarried

n a close and intimate union

“the marriage of music and dance”
“a marriage of ideas”
Type of:
unification, union
the state of being joined or united or linked

n the act of marrying; the nuptial ceremony

“their marriage was conducted in the chapel”
marriage ceremony, wedding
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bridal, espousal
archaic terms for a wedding or wedding feast
civil marriage
a marriage performed by a government official rather than by a clergyman
love match
a marriage for love's sake; not an arranged marriage
the act of marrying again
Type of:
rite, ritual
any customary observance or practice

n two people who are married to each other

“his second marriage was happier than the first”
man and wife, married couple
mixed marriage
marriage of two people from different races or different religions or different cultures
Type of:
family, family unit
primary social group; parents and children