As far as I know there are two words in Latin that indicate two people marrying

  1. nubere
    This means to veil oneself for marriage. It thus has to be said by a female member and it is implied that this is said to a man. (woman-man marriage)

  2. duco uxorem
    This means to take a woman as your wife, therefore it requires the presence of a female in the marriage and the other side is implied to be a man. (man-woman marriage)

The two of these words could, as far as I know in theory also be used to be a woman-woman marriage but I wonder whether the Latin language has a word that more clearly means woman-woman marriage and whether it has a word for man-man marriage at all.

It might also be possible that such a word was added to the Latin language after the classical era in which case I would like to know in which era it was added.

As an example sentence: "the man married his boyfriend."


2 Answers 2


Short answer : there are no such words. However, as Joonas suggests, there are ways of getting round this if you want to express same-sex ideas in Latin.

I've never come across anything specific for woman-woman or man-man marriages (or marrying) in the language but, if there lies behind your question a need to express these in Latin, it's by no means impossible.

To begin with, there is the neutral phrase, offered by Joonas, in matrimonium ducere, which conventionally suggests a man taking a woman to wife but might, in the right context, be used in the ways that your are looking for.

Next, there is the useful word coniu(n)x, which means 'spouse', usually of a wife but also of a man. A married couple can be described as coniuges — 'conjoined', (if you like, in marriage) in a physical union, coniugium — where, again, the context could suggest a same-sex marriage [note here that connubium is a separate, legal term for wedlock or marriage]. We should also consider that the Romans 'married' in various ways.

The way of the old Republic, and especially of the patricians and otherwise ennobled families, was confarreatio, a very solemn and serious religious affair, strongly binding and usually involving settlements of one kind or another (think of Julius Caesar giving his daughter in marriage to Pompey, or Octavian his sister to Antony), including money or property. Marriage between plebeians was called coemptio and did not involve the same rites as confarreatio, but mimicked a sale and was solemnised before at least five witnesses ( there was even a libripens to simulate the weighing-out of money). But a possible key to the usage you are looking for is that ,in all kinds of marriage, there was a question to the bride, and her response was Ubi tu Gaius, ego Gaia : this is straightforwardly adaptable to a same-gender couple.

Classical literature refers us to all kinds of sexual activity. Some of it can be a bit puritanical, but aside from that there are allegations of sexual 'misbehaviour' which are mainly in the nature of lampoon of the subjects, rather than criticism of the act (Catullus has particularly good examples). In Latin, as far as I know, they are all of males (and they do include pederasty) : I know of nothing which has words specially for female-female sexual activity, though there are a some which might be used.

I appreciate, of course, that none of this answers your query as such, but as a bit of background it should, I hope, enable you to deal with it confidently.


Pitkäranta's dictionary (Finnish–Latin–Finnish) gives three translations for "get married" in two categories. Marrying a woman can be expressed by uxorem ducere or in matrimonium ducere, both with accusative. Marrying a man can be expressed by nubere with dative.

These translations are probably offered from a heteronormative point of view, but they can be adapted to new uses. The expressions nubere alicui and aliquem in matrimonium ducere are syntactically gender neutral, but nubere has unwanted connotations as my mention. Leading someone to matrimony, aliquem in matrimonium ducere, is a good neutral option.

Depending on how you want to structure things, one possibility is aliquem maritum ducere. This "leading someone to become his husband" is an obvious adaptation of the well known phrase, and the change makes it clear that something is not quite like in the Roman concept(s) of marriage. This is what I would choose for your example.

See this question for Latin expressions for "boyfriend" or "girlfriend".

Using just amatus, I end up with this example:

He married his boyfriend.
Ille amatum suum duxit maritum.

  • Since puer was regularly used to mean servant, and since Romans not infrequently took sexual liberties with their servants, I don't think that last sentence quite conveys what you want. Of course, that's the danger with all of this--how can you say it in a way that doesn't sound like Martial quipped it first?
    – C Monsour
    Dec 23, 2019 at 12:42
  • @CMonsour Indeed, I had forgotten to update this answer after the spin-off question. I added a link there and updated my suggestion on that part. It should work better now, and the details of that choice of words can be discussed in the linked question. I only wanted to pick a single sample here to show how marrying would work.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Dec 23, 2019 at 14:29
  • I was wondering to what extent "aliquem in matrimonium ducere is a good neutral option". You point out that nubere has "unwanted connotations". Well, one could also claim that the use of the verb ducere 'to lead' has "unwanted connotations" too... By the way, your last example is ambiguous, isn't it? The verb duxit could also be interpreted as "he considered his boyfriend as his husband". Such an ambiguity disappears if one uses a directional expression like in matrimonium.
    – Mitomino
    Dec 23, 2019 at 16:42

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