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The study of nuptiality 1 deals with the frequency of marriages 2 i. e., unions 3, between persons of opposite sexes which involve rights and obligations fixed by law and custom; with the characteristics of persons, united in marriage; and with the dissolution of such unions. A marriage 4 or wedding 4 is the ceremony, prescribed by law or custom, which establishes such a union between a man and a woman as spouses 5, i. e., husband 6 and wife 7- The spouses jointly are called a married couple 8.
- 4. marriage n. — marry v. — married adj. — marriageable adj., capable of contracting a marriage.
- 6. A man at, or soon before or after his marriage, is a bridegroom (abbreviation: groom)
- 7. A woman at, or soon before or after her marriage, is a bride.
Marriage laws 1 or marriage customs 2 differ in different societies. A society in which each person may be married to only one person of the opposite sex at a time is called monogamous 3. Societies in which a person may be married to several persons simultaneously are called polygamous 4. A distinction is made between polyandrous 5 societies, where a woman may have several husbands, and polygynous 6 societies, where a man may have several wives. The term "polygamy" is frequently used in the sense of polygyny.
- 3. monogamous adj. — monogamy n.
- 4. polygamous adj. — polygamy n.
- 5. polyandrous adj. — polyandry n. 6. polygynous adj. — polygyny n.
In some countries a legal union can be established only through a civil marriage 1 performed by an official of the state; in other countries a religious marriage 2 in accordance with the regulations of a church is recognized as having legal force. Social or legal recognition may be given under various conditions in different countries to stable onions which have not been solemnized by a legal or religious ceremony. Different types of relationship and degrees of social acceptance are implied in terms applied to these unions, but their significance varies widely in different countries. The term consensual union 3 implies a socially recognized stable union; the term common law marriage 3 has a similar connotation. The terms free unions 3, concubinage 3, illicit union 3 or cohabitation 3 (cf. 512-3) may have different meanings according to the context. The term conjugal union 3 has been used by some demographers to include both legal unions and more or less stable illegal unions. Two persons of opposite sexes living in stable union, whether legal or not, are called a couple 4.
- 3. A concubine in the restricted sense is a woman with an accepted conjugal status inferior to that of a legally recognized wife, particularly in polygynous societies. In other societies, however, the word concubine is used loosely to denote any woman other than a wife living in conjugal union with a man.
cohabitation n, — cohabit v., to live in conjugal union.
, In many countries a minimum age at marriage 1 is laid down by law. The age differs from country to country and may be different for the two sexes. Marriages among persons closely related by blood are called consanguineous marriages 2 and are generally prohibited by law or custom. Persons who are forbidden to marry one another for these reasons are said to bo within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity 3.
In some countries the publication of banns 1 or intent to marry 1 is a necessary preliminary to a marriage (501-4), giving public notice to persons interested, who may then oppose the marriage if they have reason to do so. In many countries a marriage licence 2 must be obtained before a marriage ceremony can take place. A marriage certificate 3 is usually delivered to the newly married couple 4 after the ceremony. The consummation of marriage 5 has occurred, or a marriage has been consummated 5 when sexual relations have taken place between the spouses.
- 4. Before the celebration of the marriage the future spouses are said to be engaged, a word which comes from the custom of engagements, which consists of a more or less formal exchange of promises to marry.
Endogamy 1 exists where both spouses must belong to the same group (e. g. tribe, clan). The term is also used to denote a tendency for spouses to be members of the same social or geographical group or isolate 2, which is generally of limited size. The opposite requirement or tendency is called exogamy 3. Mixed marriages 4 are marriages between persons of different nationalities, races, religions, etc. When marriage is contracted between persons with certain common characteristics, social, physical or mental, this is called homogamy 5, the opposite is called heterogamy 6.
- 1. endogamy n. - endogamous adj.
- 3. exogamy n. — exogamous adj.
- 5. homogamy n. — homogamous adj.
- 6. heterogamy n. — heterogamous adj.
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