WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
es•pous•al  (i spouzəl, -səl),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. adoption or advocacy, as of a cause or principle.
  2. Sometimes,  espousals. 
    • a marriage ceremony.
    • an engagement or betrothal celebration.
  • Latin spōnsālia (noun, nominal use of neuter plural of spōnsālis), equivalent. to spōns( us) spouse + -ālia -al2
  • Middle French, Old French espousailles
  • Middle English espousaille 1275–1325

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

espousal /ɪˈspaʊzəl/ n
  1. adoption or support: an espousal of new beliefs
  2. (sometimes plural) archaic a marriage or betrothal ceremony

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