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 (lĕv′ər-ĭt, -ə-rāt′, lē′vər-ĭt, -və-rāt′)
The practice of marrying the widow of one's childless brother to maintain his line, as required by ancient Hebrew law.

[From Latin lēvir, husband's brother; see daiwer- in Indo-European roots.]

lev′i·rat′ic (-răt′ĭk), lev′i·rat′i·cal adj.


(Bible) the practice, required by Old Testament law, of marrying the widow of one's brother
[C18: from Latin lēvir a husband's brother]
leviratic, ˌleviˈratical adj


(ˈlɛv ər ɪt, -əˌreɪt, ˈli vər ɪt, -vəˌreɪt)

Judaism. the custom of marriage between a man and his brother's widow, required in Biblical law under certain circumstances. Deut. 25:5–10.
[1715–25; < Latin lēvir husband's brother (akin to Old English tācor, Greek dāḗr, Skt devar) + -ate3]
lev•i•rat•ic (ˌlɛv əˈræt ɪk, ˌli və-) lev`i•rat′i•cal, adj.


the custom under the Mosaic code (Deut. xxv: 5-10) that required a widow to marry her dead husband’s brother if she had no sons. — levirate, leviratical, adj.
See also: Judaism
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.levirate - the biblical institution whereby a man must marry the widow of his childless brother in order to maintain the brother's line
institution - a custom that for a long time has been an important feature of some group or society; "the institution of marriage"; "the institution of slavery"; "he had become an institution in the theater"
References in periodicals archive ?
Uzong also notes a "difference in moral attitudes towards marriage between the Bushmen proper and the Hottentots," as "the Hottentots practised levirate while the Bushmen prohibited it" (76).
This is likewise why the church prohibited the Jewish practice of levirate marriage, where a widow would be expected to marry her dead husband's brother to keep her property in his family.
Then she translates and annotates cases regarding marriage rites and exchanges, and getting married; marriage between officials and commoners, marriages of military personnel, and divorce; when the husband dies, levirate marriages, and no levirate marriage; and secondary wives, marriage between slaves and commoners, marriage of entertainers, and marriage during the mourning period.
20) Additionally, Antipas and Herodias had violated sacred Levirate law, specifically in regard to sexual relations with a kinsman's wife.
Between the laws of levirate marriage, marriage contracts, divorce, and betrothal, the Talmud has more to say about the subject of marriage than virtually any other topic.
Because her father-in-law was denying her the right of levirate, which said that if a husband died without having children, his brother must marry his widow and their children would inherit the dead brother's estate.
By recalling the law on Levirate marriage (cf Dt 25:5), the question they raise to Jesus is an attempt to ridicule belief in the resurrection.
Two other legal issues that surface in the book--the redemption of the property of a relative and (possibly) levirate marriage to provide an heir for a deceased kinsman--are more formal in nature.
When Judah's eldest son, Er, first married to this woman, and then Onan, his younger brother, die, their father is, understandably, reluctant to comply further with the levirate, leaving the childless widow literally in no-man's land.
Others that are less widespread include dry sexual intercourse, sororate marriage practices (where a deceased wife is replaced by her young sister) and levirate marriage practices (where a man marries his deceased brother's widow).
A levirate marriage is one where the brother of a dead man is obliged to marry his sibling's widow.
Indeed, if systems of agnatic descent sui generis were structurally vulnerable to such mixings, the widespread incidence of the levirate in patrilineal African societies would be culturally "ungrammatical.