Spouse vs espouse

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Spouse and espouse are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings. They are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of spouse and espouse, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A spouse is a husband or a wife, a mate one takes when one marries. The word spouse is derived from the Latin word sponsus which means bridegroom.

Espouse means to give support to an idea or a belief, to adopt an idea or a belief. Espouse may also mean to marry or take a spouse, though that definition is rarely used anymore. Espouse is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are espouses, espoused, espousing. The word espouse is derived from the Latin word sponsare, which means to perform a rite or make a secret promise.


The one-day employment event is for spouses of all active duty military, guard, reserve, veterans and retirees, as well as Gold Star spouses, according to a news release from the Carlisle Barracks. (The Carlisle Sentinel)

However, if you’re married, you and your spouse should develop a joint “vision” encompassing all the key areas of your retirement lifestyle. (The Cedar Valley Daily Times)

However, blind ridicule and wholesale disparagement of the values of the right completely undermine the inclusive stance many liberals purport to espouse and detract from the positive resolution of important issues that should not be swept under the rug. (The Brown Daily Herald)

Too much of the wit in Larnach’s text is allowed to sink in a swamp of earnestness with barely an air bubble to mark the spot, and much of the acting conveys conviction of ideas as opposed to dredging up a deeper conviction in the characters by whom those ideas are espoused. (The Sydney Morning Herald)