matrimony

marriage, matrimony, wedlock, wedding, nuptial, espousal are comparable though not always synonymous because they all refer directly or indirectly to acts by which a man and woman become husband and. wife or to the state of being husband and wife.
Marriage is the common term; it may apply to the rite or ceremony
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many were present at their marriage

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a civil marriage

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but it more often applies to the legal or spiritual relation which is entered upon
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joined in marriage

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annul a marriage

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or to the state of being married
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theirs was a long and happy marriage

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or to the institution as an abstraction
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nor does he dishonor marriage that praises virginity— Donne

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In extended use the term is applicable to any similarly close and intimate union
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let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments— Shak.

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the same sort of poetic effect as the Romantics obtained by the marriage of fertile words—Day Lewis

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Matrimony is in most contexts interchangeable with marriage, but it is the more appropriate term in religious and sometimes in legal use; in many Christian churches it designates one of the seven sacraments
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matrimony is the sacrament which unites in holy wedlock a man and a woman, between whom there is no impediment that would render marriage null and void— Currier

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The term therefore may be chosen in place of marriage when a religious ceremony or sanction is implied
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joined in bonds of holy matrimony

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In general the term is more often applied to the relationship which exists between husband and wife than to the ceremony or the state of marriage
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so prays the Church, to consecrate a vow "The which would endless matrimony make"—Wordsworth

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Wedlock, chiefly legal or archaic, applies especially to marriage as a legally or ecclesiastically sanctioned relationship or state; thus, children born out of wedlock are children of parents who are not legally married
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grave authors say, and witty poets sing, that honest wedlock is a glorious thing— Pope

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Wedding is the common term for the ceremony that marks a marriage and the festivities that accompany it
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a thousand invitations to the wedding were sent out

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Nuptial, usually as the plural nuptials, is a more rhetorical term than wedding; it also carries a stronger implication of an elaborate ceremony
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I don't object to married priests, but I do strongly object to their nuptials. . . . When a priest . . . indulges in an immense artistic wedding, I feel there is something undignified and almost unpleasant about it— Mackenzie

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Espousal, often as the plural espousals, differs little from nuptial except in its extended application. In the latter use it implies a spiritual union, especially one that is dependent upon a vow or pledge
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let every act of worship be like our espousals, Lord, to thee— John Wesley

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New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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