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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 ?
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.
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.
In the Gospel, the Levirate law governs the conversation between Jesus and some Sadducces.
The categories are: Authorship and Date; Genre/Style; Ruth's Place in the Canon; Ruth's Relationship to Other Biblical Books; Ruth and Shavuot; Background Issues and Themes; Levirate Marriage; The Marriage of Boaz and Ruth; Intermarriage; Conversion; The Status of the Moabites; Hesed; The Theology of the Book of Ruth; Redemption in the Bible; Pre-modern Rabbinic Interpretations; Later Jewish Interpretations; and Contemporary Readings.
They could either pass their remaining life in widowhood or have some children by levirate (niyoga) or remarry regularly.
Local, largely indigenous African customs such as circumcision, menstrual seclusion of women and the marriage practice called the levirate, which requires a man to marry the widow of his deceased brother, mirrored practices described in the Old Testament and further strengthened Christian belief in this presumed biblical ancestry.
com, noted that "evidence of their Jewish roots is very strong with customs such as performing circumcision on the eighth day following birth, honoring levirate [where the brother of a dead man must marry his brother's widow] marriages, offering sacrifices on altars and wearing shawls that resemble the Talit [prayer shawl].
38) Thomson Kalinda and Robert Tembo, "Sexual Practices and Levirate Marriages in Mansa District of Zambia," Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality 13 (March 2010); http://www.
With an increase in excess males, there is increasing competition for those seeking marriages, which results in an increase of marriages such as child bride, mercenary marriage, marriage by exchange, or even levirate marriage, a type of marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother's widow, and the widow is obliged to marry her deceased husband's brother.
Incestuous rape, the unsuspected collateral damage of levirate
These biblical precepts would have caused some discussion within the Irish Church as the inheritance of property and the consolidation of a family's land (the social motive behind levirate marriage) was as important in Irish kinship as in the tribal Hebrew society.