1. Education

Latin Marriage Vocabulary

Words in Latin for Marriage, Betrothal, and Divorce


The Latin expressions for betrothal, marriage, and divorce provide insight into the related Roman customs; for instance, just as in English, the Romans refer to 'giving' a daughter in marriage. Unlike marriages in America, in a Roman marriage, a Roman man is said to 'lead' (ducere) his wife.
Although a dowry is brought into a marriage, the dowry is 'given' to the daughter.
When a wife divorces her husband, she 'repudiates' him. Although we may not be aware of this, that is what repudiate means, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, which defines repudiate as
1545, "to cast off by divorce," from adj. meaning "divorced, rejected, condemned" (1464), from L. repudiatus, pp. of repudiare "to divorce or reject," from repudium "divorce, rejection," from re- "back, away" + pudium, probably related to pes-/ped- "foot."
Here are some of the Classical Latin marriage-related expressions:
  • filiam alicui despondere - to betroth one's daughter to someone
  • nuptias conciliare - to prepare a marriage
  • uxorem habere - to have a wife
  • dotem filiae dare - to give one's daughter a dowry
  • ducere uxorem - to marry (for the man)
  • nubere alicui - to marry someone (for the woman) [Nubere literally means 'to cover or veil', so a woman marries by putting on the veil.]
  • repudium remittere alicui - to divorce someone

Source: C. Meissner's Latin Phrase Book

Please let me know if I've made an error.

Latin-English Differences: Agreement | Case | Word Order | Gender | Articles | Alphabet

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.