(1,100 words)

1. Term and meaning

Betrothal (or engagement) is the term for the promise between a man and a woman to enter into marriage with each other. This understanding only came into its own in the early modern period. Previously betrothal was part of the marriage contraction (Marriage, contraction of)  itself. The betrothal was distinguished from the wedding (originally the traditio puellae, the “handing over of the bride”), which followed…

Cite this page
Scholz-Löhnig, Cordula, “Betrothal”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 24 March 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160907

▲   Back to top   ▲