[ pol-ee-an-dree, pol-ee-an- ]
See synonyms for polyandry on Thesaurus.com
  1. the practice or condition of having more than one husband at one time.: Compare monandry (def. 1).

  2. (among female animals) the habit or system of having two or more mates, either simultaneously or successively.

  1. Botany. the state of being polyandrous.

Origin of polyandry

From the Greek word polyandría, dating back to 1770–80. See poly-, -andry

Words that may be confused with polyandry

Words Nearby polyandry

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use polyandry in a sentence

  • They practice polyandry.258 Infanticide was frequent among them until suppressed under the action of Government.

  • In Polynesia, where polyandry was very prevalent, this custom was at one time fairly rampant.

  • Under such circumstances the custom of polyandry is intelligible without further explanation.

  • It is everywhere set aside, to a greater or less extent, in favour of the two forms of polygamy—polygyny and polyandry.

  • Hence the original form of polygamy was probably not polygyny—the only form, practically, that later occurs—but polyandry.

British Dictionary definitions for polyandry


/ (ˈpɒlɪˌændrɪ) /

  1. the practice or condition of being married to more than one husband at the same time: Compare polygamy

  2. the practice in animals of a female mating with more than one male during one breeding season

  1. the condition in flowers of having a large indefinite number of stamens

Origin of polyandry

C18: from Greek poluandria, from poly- + -andria from anēr man

Derived forms of polyandry

  • polyandrous, adjective

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

Cultural definitions for polyandry


[ (pol-ee-an-dree) ]

A practice in which women have two or more husbands at the same time. A rare form of polygamy, polyandry is practiced by only a few cultures. (Compare monogamy.)

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.