• synonyms


[kong-kyuh-bahyn, kon-]
See more synonyms for concubine on Thesaurus.com
  1. a woman who cohabits with a man to whom she is not legally married, especially one regarded as socially or sexually subservient; mistress.
  2. (among polygamous peoples) a secondary wife, usually of inferior rank.
  3. (especially formerly in Muslim societies) a woman residing in a harem and kept, as by a sultan, for sexual purposes.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for concubine

mistress, courtesan

Examples from the Web for concubine

Historical Examples of concubine

  • In the same year he married a seventh wife, and also a concubine.

    A Critical Exposition of the Popular 'Jihd'

    Moulavi Gergh Ali

  • The concubine of a priest is a wicked woman, but she is not a social abomination.


    William Graham Sumner

  • Any slave woman may be made a concubine, but may not be married.


    William Graham Sumner

  • A man may take his slave as a concubine, but he must not sell her to vice.


    William Graham Sumner

  • If the wife did this, the Code did not allow the husband to take a concubine.

British Dictionary definitions for concubine


  1. (in polygamous societies) a secondary wife, usually of lower social rank
  2. a woman who cohabits with a man
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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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper