Definition of polygyny in English:


Syllabification: po·lyg·y·ny
Pronunciation: /pəˈlijənē


  • 1Polygamy in which a man has more than one wife. Compare with polyandry.
    More example sentences
    • Although most Hmong men had one wife, polygyny, or marriage with several women, was an accepted practice.
    • Although Muslim law allows polygyny (multiple wives), economic realities mean most Brahui marriages are monogamous.
    • For instance, in the practice of polygyny, each wife is typically allotted her own house, most often within the same compound as the other wives but sometimes elsewhere.
  • 1.1 Zoology A pattern of mating in which a male animal has more than one female mate.
    More example sentences
    • Their breeding system is characterized as harem polygyny: one male mates with multiple females.
    • As male territoriality is consistent with female defense polygyny, territorial males should be more likely to sire the entire litter of territorial dams sharing his territory.
    • In the absence of inbreeding, the most extreme value of coancestry is achieved by male polygyny together with female philopatry.



Pronunciation: /pəˈlijənəs/
More example sentences
  • It follows that parents who leave wealth to sons in polygynous societies will have, on average, more grandchildren than would parents who left wealth equally to daughters and sons.
  • I suspect that few American women, for instance, would be that inclined to enter into polygynous (one man, many women) marriages.
  • They also suggest that individuals are mildly polygynous, having evolved in a system in which one man maintains a harem.


late 18th century: from poly- 'many' + Greek gunē 'woman'.

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