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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English marien, from Anglo-Norman marïer, from Latin marītāre (to wed), from marītus (husband, suitor), from mās (man, male), of uncertain origin. Possibly from Proto-Indo-European *méryos (young man), same source as Sanskrit मर्य (márya, suitor, young man). Compare its feminine derivatives: Welsh morwyn (girl), merch (daughter), Crimean Gothic marzus (wedding), Ancient Greek μεῖραξ (meîrax, boy; girl), Lithuanian martì (bride), Avestan 𐬨𐬀𐬌𐬭𐬌𐬌𐬀(mairiia, yeoman).[1]) Displaced native Old English hīwian.


marry (third-person singular simple present marries, present participle marrying, simple past and past participle married)

  1. (intransitive) To enter into the conjugal or connubial state; to take a husband or a wife. [from 14th c.]
    Synonyms: get married, wed; see also Thesaurus:marry
    Antonym: divorce
    Neither of her daughters showed any desire to marry.
    • 1641, Evelyn, Diary, quoted in 1869 by Edward J. Wood in The Wedding Day in All Ages and Countries, volume 2, page 241:
      Evelyn, in his "Diary," under date 1641, says that at Haerlem "they showed us a cottage where, they told us, dwelt a woman who had been married to her twenty-fifth husband, and, being now a widow, was prohibited to marry in future; [] "
    • 1755, The Holy Bible, both Old and New Testament, Digested, Illustrated, and Explained, second edition, page 59:
      But Esau, being now forty years of age, took a false step by marrying not only without his parents consent; but with two wives, daughters of the Hittites.
    • 1975 March 17, Marian Christy, "Suzy Chaffee, A Liberated Beauty", The Lebanon Daily News
      If and when Suzy does marry, it will be an open marriage because she's a believer in the "totality" of freedom.
    • 1975 July, Janis Ian (lyrics and music), “At Seventeen”:
      the rich relationed hometown queen marries into what she needs
  2. (intransitive) To enter into marriage with one another.
    Jack and Jenny married soon after they met.
  3. (transitive) To take as husband or wife. [from 15th c.]
    In some cultures, it is acceptable for an uncle to marry his niece.
    His daughter was married some five years ago to a tailor's apprentice.
  4. (transitive) To arrange for the marriage of; to give away as wife or husband. [from 14th c.]
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Matthew XXIII:
      The kyngdome of heven is lyke unto a certayne kinge, which maryed his sonne [...].
    He was eager to marry his daughter to a nobleman.
  5. (transitive) To unite in wedlock or matrimony; to perform the ceremony of joining spouses; to bring about a marital union according to the laws or customs of a place. [from 16th c.]
    A justice of the peace will marry Jones and Smith.
  6. (intransitive, figuratively, of inanimate or abstract things) To join or connect. See also marry up.
    There’s a big gap here. These two parts don’t marry properly.
    I can’t connect it, because the plug doesn’t marry with the socket.
    • 1959 September, “The Re-appraisal of the B.R. Modernisation Plan”, in Trains Illustrated, page 408:
      However, it now seems likely that means can be found to marry the W.R. and B.R. standard A.T.C. apparatus.
  7. (transitive, figuratively) To unite; to join together into a close union. [from 15th c.]
    The attempt to marry medieval plainsong with speed metal produced interesting results.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Jeremiah 3:14:
      Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you.
    • 2006, Lisa C. Hickman, William Faulkner and Joan Williams: The Romance of Two Writers
      For Faulkner, these years marry professional triumphs and personal disappointments: the Nobel Prize for Literature and an increasingly unlifting depression.
  8. (nautical) To place (two ropes) alongside each other so that they may be grasped and hauled on at the same time.
  9. (nautical) To join (two ropes) end to end so that both will pass through a block.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English Marie,[2] referring to Mary, the Virgin Mary.[3] Mid-14th century.



  1. (obsolete) indeed!, in truth!; a term of asseveration.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ J.P. Mallory and D.Q. Adams, Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, s.v. "woman" (London: Dearborn Fitzroy, 1997), 656.
  2. ^ marry”, in Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary.
  3. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “marry”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Further reading[edit]