1. (noun) A socially recognized union between two or more people with the notion of permanence.
2. (noun) A legal contract between two or more people that establishes certain rights and obligations.
Example: Open marriage or polygamy.
Audio Pronunciation: (mar·riage)
Download Audio Pronunciation: marriage.mp3
- Plural: marriages
- Due to the continuum of marriage variations across legal jurisdictions, societies and cultures no single definition can encapsulate such a dynamic term and nonstandardized term.
- In the United States, a marriage offers more legal rights and responsibilities than a civil union or domestic partnership.
- Marriage, along with family, is a primary social unit and a mechanism to govern authority, descent, inheritance, legitimacy of children, and mate selection.
- A marriage is typically marked by a ritual (wedding) to indicate a change in status for the participants that often change their rights and roles.
- Cross-cultural analysis of marriage forms was studied by George Peter Murdock (1897–1985) in the Ethnographic Atlas, a data set of over 1,000 societies.
- Murdock, George Peter. 1967. “Ethnographic Atlas: A Summary.” Ethnology 6(2):109–236.
- Also called:
- spousal relationship
- Marriage used in a sentence: They started to discuss marriage after dating for over a year.
- Family and Kinship Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “marriage” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Coltrane, Scott. 2004. Families and Society: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
- Coontz, Stephanie. 1993. The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. New York: Basic Books.
- Lauer, Jeanette, and Robert Lauer. 1992. “Marriages Made to Last.” Pp. 481–86 in Marriage and Family in a Changing Society, edited by J. Henslin. New York: Free Press.
- Murdock, George Peter. 1967. “Ethnographic Atlas: A Summary.” Ethnology 6(2):109–236. doi:10.2307/3772751.
Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.
Farlex. (N.d.) TheFreeDictionary.com: Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus. Farlex. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/).
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Hoad, T. F., ed. 1996. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Kendall, Diane. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.
Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).
Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).
Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.
Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.
Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).
How to Cite the Definition of Marriage
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “marriage.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved April 26, 2019 (https://sociologydictionary.org/marriage/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
marriage. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/marriage/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “marriage.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed April 26, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/marriage/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“marriage.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/marriage/>.