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polygamy

[ puh-lig-uh-mee ]
/ pəˈlɪg ə mi /
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noun

the practice or condition of having more than one spouse, especially wife, at one time.Compare bigamy (def. 1), monogamy (def. 1).
Zoology. the habit or system of mating with more than one individual, either simultaneously or successively.

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Origin of polygamy

From the Greek word polygamía, dating back to 1585–95. See poly-, -gamy

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH polygamy

bigamy, polyandry, polygamy , polygyny
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for polygamy

British Dictionary definitions for polygamy

polygamy
/ (pəˈlɪɡəmɪ) /

noun

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
the practice in male animals of having more than one mate during one breeding season

Derived forms of polygamy

polygamist, nounpolygamous, adjectivepolygamously, adverb

Word Origin for polygamy

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

Cultural definitions for polygamy

polygamy
[ (puh-lig-uh-mee) ]

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