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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Words of the day —espouse

Good morning, Netizens...

February 16, 2013

Word of the Day

  • espouse
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ih-SPOWZ\


: marry
: to take up and support as a cause : become attached to

The new theory has been espoused by many leading physicists.

"[The food collection drive] was scheduled on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in the spirit of giving that King espoused." — From an article by Charles A. Peterson in The Granville Sentinel (Ohio), January 15, 2013


As you might guess, the words "espouse" and "spouse" are related, both deriving from the Latin verb "spondēre," meaning "to promise or betroth." In fact, the two were once completely interchangeable, with each serving as a noun meaning "a newly married person" or "a husband or wife" and also as a verb meaning "to marry." Their semantic separation began in the 17th century, when the noun "espouse" fell out of use. Around the same time, people started using the verb "espouse" figuratively to mean "to commit to and support a cause." "Spouse" continued to be used in both noun and verb forms until the 20th century, when its verb use declined and it came to be used mainly as a noun meaning "husband or wife."

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.