Definition of concubine in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɒŋkjʊbʌɪn/


1chiefly historical (In polygamous societies) a woman who lives with a man but has lower status than his wife or wives.
Example sentences
  • Abraham ended up with a wife and a concubine, Jacob with two wives and two concubines.
  • Experts place the blame partly in Chinese cultural tradition that links a man's status to the number of wives and concubines he has.
  • He loved many women and had a multitude of wives and concubines.
1.1 archaic A mistress.
Example sentences
  • From Kings to paupers, all of them had their mistresses and concubines and whores.
  • At the age of eighteen, he took a concubine or mistress and together they had one child, a son.
  • The lords spend money freely, and the Old Master and the Old Mistress add on to the expenses with concubines and opium.
mistress, paramour, kept woman;
informal fancy woman, bit on the side
archaic doxy, courtesan, leman
historical odalisque, hetaera, lorette



Pronunciation: /kənˈkjuːbɪn(ə)ri/
Example sentences
  • But his father is not present to model such a manhood, for Abraham is married to Sarah, and Ishmael is the son of a hastily arranged and foolish concubinary with Sarah's maidservant Hagar.
  • It is evident that some of these women were concubines induced to cohabit with the man by being paid to do so, and this kind of concubinary arrangement continued into the later middle ages.
  • When and how did they establish concubinary relations with African women and what roles did the relationships play in their general encounter with Africa?


Middle English: from Old French, from Latin concubina, from con- 'with' + cubare 'to lie'.

  • cubicle from Late Middle English:

    A cubicle is now any small partitioned-off area, but at first it was specifically a little place for lying down or a bedroom. The source is Latin cubiculum, from cubare ‘to lie down’, source also of incumbent (Late Middle English). Incubation (early 17th century) is based on the same Latin word, as is concubine (Middle English), originally someone you go to bed with.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: con|cu¦bine

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