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[big-uh-mee] /ˈbɪg ə mi/
noun, plural bigamies.
Law. the crime of marrying while one has a spouse still living, from whom no valid divorce has been effected.
Ecclesiastical. any violation of canon law concerning marital status that would disqualify a person from receiving holy orders or from retaining or surpassing an ecclesiastical rank.
Origin of bigamy
1200-50; Middle English bigamie < Medieval Latin bigamia (Late Latin bigam(us) bigamous + Latin -ia -y3)
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bigamy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was afraid of bein' took up for bigamist, you see—for bein' a bigamy, I mean.

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
  • When you accuse my wife of bigamy that is not quarrelling with me!

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope
  • Not a bit of it Let her contract a new marriage, and the law will indict her for bigamy.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
  • This gentleman, formerly a captain in the army, had been transported for bigamy.

  • Her bigamy may have been innocent, or at least, an unavoidable accident.

    Robert Orange John Oliver Hobbes
  • It would be bigamy and that's far worse than what the Archdeacon said I'd done.

    Lalage's Lovers George A. Birmingham
British Dictionary definitions for bigamy


noun (pl) -mies
the crime of marrying a person while one is still legally married to someone else
Derived Forms
bigamist, noun
bigamous, adjective
bigamously, adverb
Word Origin
C13: via French from Medieval Latin bigamus; see bi-1, -gamy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bigamy

"state of having two wives or husbands at the same time," mid-13c., from Old French bigamie (13c.), from Church Latin bigamia, from Late Latin bigamus "twice married," a hybrid from bi- "double" (see bi-) + Greek gamos "marrying" (see gamete). The Greek word was digamos "twice married."

Bigamie is unkinde ðing, On engleis tale, twie-wifing. [c.1250]
In Middle English, also of two successive marriages or marrying a widow.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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