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.
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How to Cite the Definition of Marriage
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “marriage.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved March 22, 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 March 22, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/marriage/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“marriage.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/marriage/>.