Use the verb espouse to describe the actions of someone who lives according to specific beliefs, such as your friends who espouse environmentalism and as a result walk whenever possible instead of taking the car.

You can see the word spouse in espouse, so you may be wondering what husbands and wives have to do with it. Originally espouse did mean “to marry,” but its meaning has evolved to include other long-term commitments as well, such as support for a principle or a cause. Similar to marriage, if you espouse a belief system, the idea is that you’ve chosen to wed yourself to it.

Definitions of espouse
  1. verb

    choose and follow; as of theories, ideas, policies, strategies or plans

    “The candidate
    espouses Republican ideals”
    adopt, follow

    abide by, comply, follow

    act in accordance with someone’s rules, commands, or wishes
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    adhere, stick

    be a devoted follower or supporter
    type of:

    choose, pick out, select, take

    pick out, select, or choose from a number of alternatives

  2. verb

    take up the cause, ideology, practice, method, of someone and use it as one’s own

    adopt, embrace, sweep up
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    fasten on, hook on, latch on, seize on, take up

    type of:


    consider or hold as true

  3. verb

    take in marriage

    conjoin, get hitched with, get married, hook up with, marry, wed

    marry, splice, tie, wed

    perform a marriage ceremony
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    marry within one’s own tribe or group

    marry an unsuitable partner

    marry a woman, take a wife

    take (someone) as a wife

    marry within the same ethnic, social, or family group

    marry, not for the first time
    type of:

    unify, unite

    act in concert or unite in a common purpose or belief

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