[ kong-kyuh-bahyn, kon- ]
/ ˈkɒŋ kyəˌbaɪn, ˈkɒn- /


a woman who cohabits with a man to whom she is not legally married, especially one regarded as socially or sexually subservient; mistress.
(among polygamous peoples) a secondary wife, usually of inferior rank.
(especially formerly in Muslim societies) a woman residing in a harem and kept, as by a sultan, for sexual purposes.


Origin of concubine

1250–1300; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin concubīna, equivalent to concub- (variant stem of concumbere to lie together; see con-, incumbent) + -īna feminine suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for concubine

British Dictionary definitions for concubine


/ (ˈkɒŋkjʊˌbaɪn, ˈkɒn-) /


(in polygamous societies) a secondary wife, usually of lower social rank
a woman who cohabits with a man
Derived Formsconcubinary (kɒŋˈkjʊbɪnərɪ), noun, adjective

Word Origin for concubine

C13: from Old French, from Latin concubīna, from concumbere to lie together, from cubare to lie
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 concubine



c.1300, from Latin concubina (fem.), from concumbere "to lie with, to lie together, to cohabit," from com- "with" (see com-) + cubare "to lie down" (see cubicle). Recognized by law among polygamous peoples as "a secondary wife."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper