cuck·​old ˈkə-kəld How to pronounce cuckold (audio)
: a man whose wife is unfaithful
cuckold transitive verb

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The Many Synonyms of Cuckold

One of the more glaring inequities of the English language is that it has a significantly larger number of words for “a man whose wife is unfaithful” than it does for “a woman whose man is unfaithful.” Cuckold is perhaps the best known of these words, and it has many synonyms, including (but by no means restricted to) cornute, cornuto, hoddy-doddy, hoddypoll, horn, ram, and wittol (a man who is aware of his wife’s infidelity and acquiesces to it). What of a woman whose husband is unfaithful? For that our language appears to have but a single word, and an obscure one at that: cuckquean.

Examples of cuckold in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web On August 25, Jerry Falwell Jr., former president of Liberty University and one of the first on the Christian right to endorse Trump in 2016, was forced to resign from his post after being outed as a cuckold. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 4 Sep. 2020 Her husband whisks her away, surprised and humiliated by the revelation and by having been exposed as a cuckold in front of his peers. Vulture, 8 Apr. 2022 Bloom is a Dubliner, a Jew, a husband and father, a racehorse-fancier, a cuckold—an Everyman, though not the kind that every man would wish to be. James Campbell, WSJ, 15 June 2022 Affleck, who once upon a time might’ve played one of those rivals, embraces the role of the quietly seething cuckold. Los Angeles Times, 16 Mar. 2022 The hackneyed premise about a film-nerd cuckold in need of psychoanalysis distracts from the real-life dilemma of personal betrayal. Armond White, National Review, 4 Feb. 2022 And also, for some reason, making his rusty BFF Mater a cuckold. Devon Ivie, Vulture, 4 Oct. 2021 Tom is also a cuckold: Shiv is cheating on him with her ex Nate (Ashley Zukerman), a floppy-haired political operative. Meredith Blake,, 12 Aug. 2019 Even Shakespeare and Chaucer cracked wise about cuckolds, who were often depicted wearing horns. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, 8 Apr. 2016 See More

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

Word History


Middle English cokewold

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cuckold was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near cuckold

Cite this Entry

“Cuckold.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

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