When a couple gets divorced, the court might order the one spouse to pay alimony to the other, which is like an allowance for basic expenses like food and shelter.

Although these days we only use the word alimony when we talk about divorce, it comes from a Latin word alere, meaning to nourish. Traditionally it was the husband’s job to take care of his wife’s nourishment, and women raising children needed alimony payments to live on after a divorce or separation. Nowadays it might be the dad staying at home, and the working wife who pays alimony after a divorce.

Definitions of alimony
  1. noun
    court-ordered support paid by one spouse to another after they are separated
    synonyms: maintenance
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    type of:
    support payment
    a payment made by one person for the support of another
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