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bigamy

[big-uh-mee]
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noun, plural big·a·mies.
  1. Law. the crime of marrying while one has a spouse still living, from whom no valid divorce has been effected.
  2. 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 confusedbigamy polyandry polygamy polygyny
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bigamy

bigamy

noun plural -mies
  1. the crime of marrying a person while one is still legally married to someone else
Derived Formsbigamist, nounbigamous, adjectivebigamously, 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

Word Origin and History for bigamy

n.

"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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