Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Dum Sola Definition:

Latin: for so long as she remains unmarried.

Related Terms: Dum Casta, Dum Vidua, Dum Sola et Casta Vixerit

"Dum sola; while single or unmarried."

This definition was offered by William Anderson.

In Arthur English's dictionary:

"Dum sola: Whole, sole or unmarried."

The term is relevant to family law and estate law although in the latter case, it may well run afoul of public policy.

  • In theory, alimony or spousal support is payable only so long as the divorcee remains dum sola to which was often added dum sola et casta, not only single but, in keeping with the morals of the times, also chaste. This is reflected in the Latin maxim dum sola et casta vixerit clause, or clause for payment while she remains single and chaste.
  • An estate may provide for an annuity to a young or older woman but only for so long as she remains dum sola.

Arguably the funniest dum sola clause of all-time was that in the will recorded in Virgil Harris' book on curious wills:

In the name of God, Amen.
My featherbed to my wife, Jen.
Also my carpenter's saw and hammer,
Until she marries, then God-damn her!


  • Anderson, William, A Dictionary of Law, Consisting of Judicial Definitions and Explanations of Words, Phrases and Maxims and an Exposition of the Principles Law: Comprising a Dictionary and Compendium of American and English Jurisprudence (Chicago: T. H. Flood and Company, Law Publishers, 1889)
  • English, Arthur, A Dictionary of Words and Phrases Used in Ancient and Modern Law (Washington, D.C.: Washington law Book Co., 1899).
  • Harris, Virgil, Ancient, Curious and Famous Wills (Boston: Little, Brown,  1911), p. 68.

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