en·​dog·​a·​my en-ˈdä-gə-mē How to pronounce endogamy (audio)
: marriage within a specific group as required by custom or law
endogamous adjective

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Marriage within a specific group as required by custom or law is known as endogamy. In endogamous groups, marriage outside one’s group may be forbidden, or there may merely be a tendency to marry within the group. Endogamy is characteristic of aristocracies and religious and ethnic minorities in industrialized societies but also of the caste system in India and of class-conscious non-literate societies such as the Masai of eastern Africa.

Examples of endogamy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Second, there is the issue of the rise of Islam, and the crystallization of broad confessional communities which exhibit endogamy. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 4 Mar. 2013 In India, the business of parents seeking brides and grooms for their children is a cruel and cutthroat one, having originated as a way to preserve caste endogamy. Iva Dixit, New York Times, 21 Apr. 2023 But Ashkenazi Jews also exhibit their own genetic distinctiveness, probably due to long term endogamy. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 14 Feb. 2012 But like the Romani speaking populations this may be a special case where relatively strong endogamy has also generated a unique genetic profile which is distinctive from their neighbors and their ancestors. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 22 Feb. 2010 If endogamy is how caste gets reproduced, their exit from India and new lives in the West Indies signaled a functional annihilation of caste. Gaiutra Bahadur, The New Republic, 25 Nov. 2020 Just like the Kalash-cluster this is to a great extent a feature of the long term endogamy of these communities. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 9 Dec. 2012 The extreme long branches leading to the Kalash and Mozabites are almost certainly a function of endogamy and inbreeding. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 18 Feb. 2012

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

Word History

First Known Use

1865, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of endogamy was in 1865

Dictionary Entries Near endogamy

Cite this Entry

“Endogamy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/endogamy. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


en·​dog·​a·​my en-ˈdäg-ə-mē How to pronounce endogamy (audio)
plural endogamies
: marriage within a specific group as required by custom or law
endogamous adjective

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