Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Matrimony Definition:

The legal state of being married.

Related Terms: Marriage, Divorce

The legal state of being married.

John Bouvier defined the term:

"Matrimony: marriage; the nuptial state."

Similarly, William Anderson:

"Matrimony: marriage, as a relation or status."

Ecclesiastics talk of the "holy" state of matrimony.

In the 5th edition of the Wharton law dictionary (1872), the editors follow suit but added:

"... the contract of man and wife."

In popular culture, Gilbert O'Sullivan's song "Matrimony" refers to this legal term as follows:

"You and me are all that matters
Disregard the rest
Trust your soon to be old man,he knows what is best
Very shortly now there's going to be an answer from you then one from me
That's matrimony
Marriage - the joining together of the two people
For better or for worse, 'til death them do part."


  • Anderson, William, A Dictionary of Law (Chicago: T. H. Flood and Company, 1889), page 665.
  • Wharton, John Jane Smith, Law Lexicon, or Dictionary of Jurisprudence: Explaining the Technical Words and Phrases Employed in the Several Departments of English Law, including also the Various Legal Terms Used in Commercial Transactions; Together with an Explanatory as well as Literal Translation of the Latin Maxims Contained in the Writings of the Ancient and Modern Commentators (London: Stevens & Sons, 1872), page 1004.

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