As a verb, consummate means to bring something to its completion, such as a transaction, concept, plan or action.

Technically speaking, consummation in the marriage context refers to its actual beginning, with an official ceremony of a wedding, witnesses to the event, and a public announcement of the act. In some Western traditions, a marriage is not considered a binding contract until and unless it has been consummated. In a colloquial context, marriages, love relationships, or relations for pleasure, are said to be consummated when the act of sexual intercourse has taken place after the ceremony or confession of love.

Within the Catholic Church, a marriage that has not yet been consummated, regardless of the reason for non-consummation, can be dissolved by the Pope (see also [ canons 1697-1706] ). Additionally, an inability or an intention to refuse to consummate the marriage is probable grounds for an annulment. Catholic canon law defines (canon 1061 §1) that a marriage has been consummated when the "spouses have performed between themselves in a human fashion a conjugal act which is suitable in itself for the procreation of offspring, to which marriage is ordered by its nature and by which the spouses become one flesh." Some theologians, such as Fr. John A. Hardon, have stated that contraceptive intercourse does not consummate a marriage.

In Colonial America, "hand-fast" marriages (Handfasting) were allowed in several of the Colonies. These marriages were not done in church; instead there were public verbal commitments made between the man and the woman, and then they consummated it by having sexual relations. If the woman did not become pregnant within one year, the marriage was considered annulled. If she did become pregnant, the relationship would automatically become a fully-recognized marriage. []

The adjective consummate describes something that is complete or a person that is supremely skilled.


The word "consummate" is probably derived from the Latin roots "consumno", "consumere", "consumpsi", "consumptus" meaning "complete".

ee also

* Annullment
* Nullity (conflict)
* Marriage

External links

* [ Catholic Encyclopedia: Sacrament of Marriage]

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  • consummate — adj Consummate, finished, accomplished are comparable when meaning brought to completion or perfection. Their distinctions lie chiefly in the degree of perfection, in the means by which this perfection is attained, and, at times, in their… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • consummate — I verb accomplish, achieve, actualize, attain, attain the goal, bring to a close, bring to effect, carry into effect, carry out, carry through, carry to completion, complete, conclude, conficere, consummare, do thoroughly, effect, effectuate, end …   Law dictionary

  • Consummate — Con*sum mate (k[o^]n*s[u^]m m[asl]t), a. [L. consummatus, p. p. or consummare to accomplish, sum up; con + summa sum. See {Sum}.] Carried to the utmost extent or degree; of the highest quality; complete; perfect. A man of perfect and consummate… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • consummate — [kän′sə mit, kən sum′it; ] for v. [ kän′sə māt΄] adj. [L consummatus, pp. of consummare, to sum up, finish < com , together + summa,SUM] 1. complete or perfect in every way; supreme [consummate happiness] 2. very skillful; highly expert [a… …   English World dictionary

  • Consummate — Con sum*mate (k[o^]n s[u^]m*m[=a]t or k[o^]n*s[u^]m m[=a]t; 277), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Consummated} (k[o^]n s[u^]m*m[=a] t[e^]d); p. pr. & vb. n. {Consummating} (k[o^]n s[u^]m*m[=a] t[i^]ng).] To bring to completion; to raise to the highest point …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • consummate — [adj] ultimate, best able, absolute, accomplished, complete, conspicuous, downright, faultless, finished, flawless, gifted, ideal, impeccable, inimitable, matchless, out and out*, peerless, perfect, perfected, polished, positive, practiced, ripe …   New thesaurus

  • consummate — is pronounced kon syuh mayt, with the stress on the first syllable, as a verb and kǝn sum ǝt, with the stress on the second syllable as an adjective (meaning ‘complete, perfect’) …   Modern English usage

  • consummate — ► VERB 1) make (a marriage or relationship) complete by having sexual intercourse. 2) complete (a transaction). ► ADJECTIVE ▪ showing great skill and flair. DERIVATIVES consummately adverb consummation noun consummator noun …   English terms dictionary

  • consummate — I. adjective Etymology: Middle English consummat fulfilled, from Latin consummatus, past participle of consummare to sum up, finish, from com + summa sum Date: 1527 1. complete in every detail ; perfect 2. extremely skilled and accomplished < a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • consummate — con|sum|mate1 [kənˈsʌmıt, ˈkɔsəmıt US ˈkansəmıt] adj [only before noun] formal [Date: 1400 1500; : Latin; Origin: , past participle of consummare to sum up, finish , from com ( COM ) + summa sum ] 1.) showing a lot of skill ▪ a great performance… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • consummate — consummates, consummating, consummated (The adjective is pronounced [[t]kɒ̱nsʌmət[/t]]. The verb is pronounced [[t]kɒ̱nsəmeɪt[/t]].) 1) ADJ GRADED: usu ADJ n You use consummate to describe someone who is extremely skilful. [FORMAL] He acted the… …   English dictionary

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