As nouns the difference between nuptials and wedding is that nuptials is wedding ceremony while wedding is marriage ceremony

I read this like 10 times already and it still makes no sense: "nuptials" means "wedding" and "wedding" means "marriage" but "nuptials" doesn't mean "marriage".

I do realize that natural languages aren't supposed to be logical and non-contradicting, but this takes it to the next level.

· · Web · 2 · 1 · 2

@minoru Whoever wrote that was trying to invent a distinction where one doesn't exist. English has a lot of words that come from different routes, this is just one of those cases. Nuptial vs wedding vs marriage ... in the noun case you're discussing it's more pick from Latin, Germanic, or French, not any difference in meaning.

@tfb @minoru doesn’t marriage mean the idea of being married, whereas wedding is a ceremony after which a couple becomes married? I always thought about it this way.

@newt I shouldn't have shortened the terms in my toot :) The quote talks of "ceremonies", and I don't understand how "wedding ceremony" is any different from "marriage ceremony".


@minoru @tfb I don’t think I heard or read the term “marriage ceremony” often

@minoru @newt They are similar but different, but in the case of nuptials vs wedding (ceremony) vs marriage (ceremony), there's no distinction.

Or put another way: any native speaker trying to rely on shades of perceived meaning between those three, is unlikely to successfully communicate that to other native speakers.

@newt @minoru Yeah, that was the original meaning. English once had three words: nuptial the adjective, marriage describing a state, and wedding describing an act. Then it expanded them all to largely overlap in meaning and grammatical form.

Or, the English language having a normal one.

@tfb I suspected this, but I checked multiple sources¹ and it appears that everybody agrees that the words are similar but are kind of different. The quote is from some site where they at least tried to spell out the difference.

¹ These days, "research" is clicking the first DDG link, and "extensive research" is clicking the top three links :)

@minoru these are synonyms, of different linguistic origins, as is usual in English. nuptial comes from Latin, and wedding from a Germanic language.

The place you quote is a bit sloppy...

@dimpase @minoru One of my "favourite" things I like the best in Legal English is when they just use all the synonyms, to cover any possible shades of difference of meaning someone might attribute to one formulation over another.

@tfb @minoru I got married in Singapore. The civil ceremony to certify the marriage is called "solemnization" there.

@dimpase That's an interesting choice of the root word, given the ceremony is a cheerful one. Reminds me of Russian, where "marriage" is spelled "брак" — just like the word for "defective goods".


@minoru @tfb what's cheerful about letting the state into your private life? 🙂

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Functional Café

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!