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From Middle English espousal, espousaille, from Old French espousailles, from Latin sponsalia (a betrothal), neuter plural of sponsalis, from spōnsus (one betrothed, a spouse); see spouse.


espousal (countable and uncountable, plural espousals)

  1. A betrothal.
    • 1949, Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces:
      So he pressed her again and again with advice on the matter of espousals; but she ever opposed to him refusals, till at last she turned upon him angrily and cried, "O my father, if thou name matrimony to me once more, I will go into my chamber and take a sword, and, fixing its hilt on the ground, will set its point to my waist; then I will press upon it, till it come forth from my back, and so slay myself."
  2. A wedding ceremony.
  3. Adoption of a plan, cause, or idea.

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