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polyandry Line breaks: poly|an¦dry
Pronunciation: /ˈpɒlɪandri/

Definition of polyandry in English:


[mass noun]
1Polygamy in which a woman has more than one husband. Compare with polygyny.
Example sentences
  • One version of polygamy, polyandry - the marriage of a woman with more than one husband - is very rare.
  • Most marriages are monogamous, although fraternal polyandry (having more than one husband) is permitted and is even considered to be prestigious.
  • Polygyny and polyandry are not allowed, and it is forbidden to marry close family and kin members.
1.1 Zoology A pattern of mating in which a female animal has more than one male mate.
Example sentences
  • Most offspring were from monogamous pairs, but a few cases consistent with polygyny by males or sequential polyandry by females were also found.
  • Cichlids also employ polyandry, in which females mate with several males.
  • In the rare mating system called polyandry, the female breeds with several males, which then raise the offspring alone.


Pronunciation: /pɒlɪˈandrəs/
Example sentences
  • I suspect that even fewer American men would be inclined to enter into polyandrous (one woman, many men) marriages.
  • The female of this species is polyandrous and may lay more than one clutch of eggs.
  • Approximately 30 birds occupied the Triangle G lagoon, and three families from one polyandrous group (one female, two males) from 1997 were also included in our analyses.


Late 17th century: from poly- 'many' + Greek anēr, andr- 'male'.

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