adul·​ter·​ous ə-ˈdəl-t(ə-)rəs How to pronounce adulterous (audio)
: relating to, characterized by, or given to adultery
an adulterous affair
an adulterous wife
adulterously adverb

Examples of adulterous in a Sentence

had an adulterous affair that nearly destroyed his marriage
Recent Examples on the Web The rebrand attempted to shake Ashley Madison’s reputation as a website for those seeking affairs — but the company appears to have returned to its adulterous roots. Lynsey Eidell, Peoplemag, 15 May 2024 Allen also evokes Jean Renoir’s adulterous roundelay The Rules of the Game (widely considered the greatest film of all time) during Fanny’s country outing, when Jean indulges his taste for deer-hunting. Armond White, National Review, 5 Apr. 2024 Rush appeared as Marsha Russell, a woman caring for her teen daughter amid a messy divorce with an adulterous husband. Alexandra Del Rosario, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2024 But the stories seemed to her more insidious and more familiar, too: The trope of the adulterous wife is as old as time. Mattie Kahn, New York Times, 23 Mar. 2024 Reviewers have praised their ability to uncover adulterous behavior. Thomas Brewster, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 There had been famous and adulterous couples before, but not in wide-screen, and not with the glut and the glare that came to be so pronounced in the case of Burton and Taylor. Andrew O’Hagan, The New Yorker, 27 Nov. 2023 Later in the play, after Babbitt catches an adulterous second wind, Broderick turns the character’s attempt to sit on some pillows on the floor into a moment of giddy physical comedy that had the La Jolla Playhouse audience seizing up in hilarity and no doubt a little sympathetic discomfort. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 5 Dec. 2023 Jamila and Antek continue their assignations at greater and greater risk, leading to a dramatic chain of events that culminates with the villagers violently turning on the adulterous bride. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'adulterous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


alteration (conformed to Latin adulter "impure, given to adultery") of earlier advouterous, going back to Middle English advouterose, from avowter "given to adultery" (borrowed from Anglo-French avuiltre, avoutre, going back to Latin adulter) + -ous -ous, -ose -ose entry 1 — more at adulterer

First Known Use

1550, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of adulterous was in 1550

Dictionary Entries Near adulterous

Cite this Entry

“Adulterous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Legal Definition


adul·​ter·​ous ə-ˈdəl-tə-rəs How to pronounce adulterous (audio)
: relating to, characterized by, or given to adultery
adulterously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on adulterous

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!