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Law. an allowance paid to a person by that person’s spouse or former spouse for maintenance, granted by a court upon a legal separation or a divorce or while action is pending.
supply of the means of living; maintenance.
Contemporary Examples

Peter Lanza gave his ex-wife custody and a good financial settlement, but alimony is not the end of responsibility.
Nancy Lanza Was Deluded to Keep Guns at Home With Troubled Adam Michael Daly December 18, 2012

Item 11 “alimony received”… If only my first marriage had gone that well.
Up to a Point: I Do My Own Taxes With No Help, Except From a Couple of Bloody Marys P. J. O’Rourke April 14, 2014

Adam remained with his mother, who received some $250,000 a year in alimony.
Adam Lanza: Newtown Massacre Suspect a Puzzle to Authorities Michael Daly December 16, 2012

In time, the alimony ran out and, to our regret, Rielle moved out, explaining that she could no longer afford the rent.
Our Tenant, Rielle Hunter A. L. Bardach March 15, 2010

Now, she’s much more likely to be given a few years worth of alimony while she gets back on her feet and finds a job.
One Reason Women Stay Home: Because It’s Easier on Everyone Megan McArdle March 17, 2013

Historical Examples

The chief argument was directed against the claim for alimony.
The Allen House T. S. Arthur

Where paternity is established the father is liable for support (or alimony).
Women’s Wild Oats C. Gasquoine Hartley

Only in rare cases and under peculiar circumstances will alimony be granted to the party in fault.
Legal Status Of Women In Iowa Jennie Lansley Wilson

The next turn went on, and all went as merry as an alimony bell.
Strictly Business O. Henry

I’m buying the lady off, and persuaded John to pay his alimony to her.
I Walked in Arden Jack Crawford

(law) (formerly) an allowance paid under a court order by one spouse to another when they are separated but not divorced See also maintenance

1650s, “nourishment,” also “allowance to a wife from a husband’s estate, or in certain cases of separation,” from Latin alimonia “food, support, nourishment, sustenance,” from alere “to nourish” (see old) + -monia suffix signifying action, state, condition (cognate with Greek -men). Derived form palimony coined 1979.


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