American English

Definition of marriage noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] the legal relationship between a husband and wife a happy/unhappy marriage All of her children's marriages ended in divorce. an arranged marriage (= one in which the parents choose a husband or wife for their child) She has two children by a previous marriage. This is his second marriage. see also mixed
  2. 2[uncountable] the state of being married They don't believe in marriage. My parents are celebrating 30 years of marriage.
  3. 3[countable] the ceremony in which two people become husband and wife Their marriage took place in a local church. Wedding is more common in this meaning.
  4. Word Familymarry verbmarriage nounmarried adjective (unmarried)Idioms
    by marriage
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    when someone is related to you by marriage, they are married to someone in your family, or you are married to someone in their family Jane and I are related by marriage.
    somebody's hand (in marriage) (old-fashioned)
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    permission to marry someone, especially a woman He asked the general for his daughter's hand in marriage.
Topic CollocationsMarriage and Divorceromance fall/be (madly/deeply/hopelessly)in love (with somebody) be/believe in/fall in love at first sight be/find true love/the love of your life suffer (from) (the pains/pangs of) unrequited love have/feel/show/express great/deep/genuine affection for somebody/something meet/marry your husband/wife/partner/fiancé/fiancée/boyfriend/girlfriend have/go on a (blind)date be going out with/dating a guy/girl/boy/man/woman move in with/live with your boyfriend/girlfriendweddings get/be engaged/married/divorced arrange/plan a wedding have a big wedding/a honeymoon/a happy marriage have/enter into an arranged marriage call off/cancel/postpone your wedding invite somebody to/go to/attend a wedding/a wedding ceremony/a wedding reception conduct/perform a wedding ceremony exchange rings/wedding vows/marriage vows congratulate/toast/raise a glass to the happy couple be/go on your honeymoon (with your wife/husband) celebrate your first (wedding) anniversaryseparation and divorce be unfaithful to/ (informal) cheat on your husband/wife/partner/fiancé/fiancée/boyfriend/girlfriend have an affair (with somebody) break off/end an engagement/a relationship break up with/ (informal) dump your boyfriend/girlfriend separate from/be separated from/leave/divorce your husband/wife annul/dissolve a marriage file for/ask for/go through/get a divorce get/gain/be awarded/have/lose custody of the children pay alimony/child support (to your ex-wife/husband)
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: marriage