- marry (v.)
- c. 1300, "to give (offspring) in marriage," from Old French marier "to get married; to marry off, give in marriage; to bring together in marriage," from Latin maritare "to wed, marry, give in marriage" (source of Italian maritare, Spanish and Portuguese maridar), from maritus (n.) "married man, husband," of uncertain origin, originally a past participle, perhaps ultimately from "provided with a *mari," a young woman, from PIE root *mari- "young wife, young woman," akin to *meryo- "young man" (source of Sanskrit marya- "young man, suitor").
Meaning "to get married, join (with someone) in matrimony" is early 14c. in English, as is that of "to take in marriage." Said from 1520s of the priest, etc., who performs the rite. Figurative use from early 15c. Related: Married; marrying. Phrase the marrying kind, describing one inclined toward marriage and almost always used with a negative, is attested by 1824, probably short for marrying kind of men, which is from a popular 1756 essay by Chesterfield.
In some Indo-European languages there were distinct "marry" verbs for men and women, though some of these have become generalized. Compare Latin ducere uxorem (of men), literally "to lead a wife;" nubere (of women), perhaps originally "to veil" [Buck]. Also compare Old Norse kvangask (of men) from kvan "wife" (see quean), so, "take a wife;" giptask (of women), from gipta, a specialized use of "to give" (see gift (n.)), so, "to be given."
- marry (interj.)
- a common oath in the Middle Ages, mid-14c., now obsolete, a corruption of the name of the Virgin Mary.