Of, pertaining to, or in accordance with, a law of the ancient Israelites and other tribes and races, according to which a woman, whose husband died without issue, was married to the husband's brother.
a social custom under which a man has both the right to marry his dead brother's widow and the obligation to provide for her.
(LEV·i·rate). The custom, required in biblical times under certain circumstances ( Genesis 38:8, Deuteronomy 25:5-10), that a younger brother of a deceased brother is to marry the widow so that the first child will bear the name of the deceased and take his inheritance rights. In this case the child is not deemed that of the biological father but of the deceased.