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From Middle English espousen, borrowed from Old French espouser, from Latin spōnsāre, present active infinitive of spōnsō (frequentative of spondeō), from Proto-Indo-European *spend-.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɪˈspaʊz/, IPA(key): /ɪˈspaʊs/
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  • Rhymes: -aʊz, -aʊs


espouse (third-person singular simple present espouses, present participle espousing, simple past and past participle espoused)

  1. (transitive) To marry.
  2. (transitive, figurative, modern usage) To accept, support, or take on as one’s own (an idea or a cause).
    • 1998, William Croft, “The Projection of Arguments”, in Miriam Butt, Wilhelm Geuder, editors, Event Structure in Argument Linking, page 37:
      Although Dowty’s proposal is attractive from the point of view of the alternative argument linking theory that I am espousing, since it eschews the use of thematic roles and thematic role hierarchies, […], but it still has some drawbacks.
    • 2011, Donald J. van Vliet, “Letter: Republicans espouse ideology over national welfare”, in The Eagle-Tribune[2], retrieved 2013-12-18:
      Those that espoused this ideology []
    • 2023 June 22, Heather Stewart, “Only 18% of leave voters think Brexit has been a success, poll finds”, in The Guardian[3], →ISSN:
      Among those leavers who believe Brexit has not gone well, many blame politicians for handling it badly – a narrative espoused by the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who recently claimed that “Brexit has failed”.

Related terms[edit]