Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

polygamy

[puh-lig-uh-mee]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. the practice or condition of having more than one spouse, especially wife, at one time.Compare bigamy(def 1), monogamy(def 1).
  2. Zoology. the habit or system of mating with more than one individual, either simultaneously or successively.
Show More

Origin of polygamy

From the Greek word polygamía, dating back to 1585–95. See poly-, -gamy
Can be confusedbigamy polyandry polygamy polygyny
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for polygamy

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for polygamy

polygamy

noun
  1. the practice of having more than one wife or husband at the same timeCompare polyandry, polygyny
    1. the condition of having male, female, and hermaphrodite flowers on the same plant
    2. the condition of having these different types of flower on separate plants of the same species
  2. the practice in male animals of having more than one mate during one breeding season
Show More
Derived Formspolygamist, nounpolygamous, adjectivepolygamously, adverb

Word Origin

C16: via French from Greek polugamia from poly- + -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 polygamy

n.

1590s, from Late Latin polygamia, from Late Greek polygamia "polygamy," from polygamos "often married," from polys "many" + gamos "marriage" (see gamete). Not etymologically restricted to marriage of one man and multiple women (technically polygyny), but often used as if it were. Related: Polygamist.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

polygamy in Culture

polygamy

[(puh-lig-uh-mee)]

The practice of having several wives or husbands at the same time. (Compare monogamy.)

Show More
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.