The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the standard of dictionary of the English language, and many other dictionaries take their cues from them. They are monitoring the definition of the word “marriage”, as they monitor all definitions, to see if it will need to be updated.
Currently, the Oxford English Dictionary defines marriage as a “formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognised by law, by which they become husband and wife.”
This is the ‘common’ definition of marriage in the English language; though, most anthologists and archaeologists define marriage as being a formal union or contract between two or more individuals for the purposes of ensuring property distribution and companionship. Or words to those effects. As a cultural construct, marriage is defined differently throughout the world.
According to the Oxford University Press “We continually monitor the words in our dictionaries paying particular to those words whose usage is shifting, so yes, this will happen with marriage. We are constantly monitoring usage in this area in order to consider what revisions and updates we may need to make. It’s worth pointing out that, as the OED is distinct from other dictionaries in being a historical record of the language, meanings of the past will remain, even while language changes and new ones are added”.
The definition of marriage has already changed in several countries. France changed their before their Parliament enacted same-sex marriage. The French dictionary Larousse changed their definition to a “solemn act between two same-sex or different-sex persons, who decide to establish a union”.
The Canada Space Dictionary defines marriage as “the state of being a married couple voluntarily joined for life (or until divorce)”.
However, given the diversity of marriage throughout the world, wouldn’t it just be simpler to bite the bullet and define it as the union of two or more people for the conveyance of property, raising of children, and/or companionship with other individuals?