noun, plural big·a·mies.

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 confusedbigamy polyandry polygamy polygyny Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for bigamy

polygyny, bigamy, polyandry

Examples from the Web for bigamy

Contemporary Examples of bigamy

Historical Examples of bigamy

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for bigamy


noun plural -mies

the crime of marrying a person while one is still legally married to someone else
Derived Formsbigamist, nounbigamous, adjectivebigamously, adverb

Word Origin for bigamy

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

"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