a custom of the Jews in Biblical times by which a dead man's brother was obligated to marry the widow if there were no sons: Deut. 25:5-10
Origin of levirateClassical Latin levir, husband's brother, brother-in-law (; from an unverified form daiwer ; from Indo-European an unverified form d?iw?r from source Sanskrit d?vár, Classical Greek da?r, Old English tacor) + -ate
The practice of marrying the widow of one's childless brother to maintain his line, as required by ancient Hebrew law.
Origin of levirateFrom Latin l&emacron;vir, husband's brother; see daiwer- in Indo-European roots.
- lev′i·rat′ic , lev′i·rat′i·cal
- This adjective is used almost exclusively as part of the phrase levirate marriage.
- (countable) A marriage between a widow and her deceased husband's brother or, sometimes, heir.
- (anthropology) The institution of levirate marriage.
From Latin lÄ“vir (“husband's brother, brother-in-law") (from Proto-Indo-European *daiwos (“one's brother-in-law")) + -ate