Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: po·lyg·a·my
Pronunciation: /pəˈliɡəmē

Definition of polygamy in English:


1The practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time.
Example sentences
  • Polyandry (multiple husbands) has recently been abolished; the practice of polygamy is legal provided the first wife grants her consent.
  • In 1904 church President Joseph F. Smith presented a second manifesto that disciplined those who continued to practice polygamy or perform plural marriages.
  • Some wealthy Tuareg men practice polygamy (having more than one wife at the same time).
1.1 Zoology A pattern of mating in which an animal has more than one mate.
Example sentences
  • Mating systems characterized by restricted breeding seasons, male polygamy, and female monogamy are common among animals.
  • For example, species without care or with uniparental care are expected to show higher levels of polygamy than do species with biparental care.
  • Evening Grosbeaks are generally monogamous, although when there is an unusually plentiful food supply, polygamy can occur.
2 Botany The condition of bearing some male, some female, and sometimes some perfect flowers on the same plant.
Example sentences
  • In plants, polygamy means the co-occurrence and function of monosexual and bisexual individuals in a population.
  • Circumstances show that matrimony is something good for people, and circumstances likewise justify polygamy for plants and animals.


late 16th century: from French polygamie, via late Latin from Greek polugamia, from polugamos 'often marrying'.



sense 1.
Example sentences
  • Most of the estimated 30,000 people practising polygamy in the West trace their roots to early Mormon doctrine, although the church abandoned the practice in 1890 and excommunicates polygamists.
  • Admittedly, traditional marriage counselling has done wonders for some, but there are also accomplished and articulate polygamists you can turn to for excellent advice as well.
  • From the London Sunday Times, we learn that Muslim polygamists may get special tax breaks in Britain.

Definition of polygamy in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?