po·​lyg·​a·​my | \ pə-ˈli-gə-mē How to pronounce polygamy (audio) \

Definition of polygamy

1 : marriage in which a spouse of either sex may have more than one mate at the same time — compare polyandry, polygyny
2 : the state of being polygamous

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Other Words from polygamy

polygamist \ pə-​ˈli-​gə-​mist How to pronounce polygamist (audio) \ noun
polygamize \ pə-​ˈli-​gə-​ˌmīz How to pronounce polygamize (audio) \ intransitive verb

Examples of polygamy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The show takes on not just feminine desire, but also rape, mental illness, male power, domestic violence and the jealousies that arise out of polygamy. Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, "Brazen Women. Scandalized Viewers. It’s ‘Sex and the City,’ Senegal Style.," 22 Aug. 2019 Panaca is the birthplace of John Yeates Barlow, one of the most influential leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — a group that still practices polygamy. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Chapter One: A Quiet Man," 15 July 2019 My first editor at the Salt Lake Tribune, Dawn House, fought across the newsroom to defend an investigative series on polygamy that rankled the political and cultural establishment in Utah. Greg Burton, azcentral, "From our executive editor: We're dedicated to improving newsroom diversity – and have the numbers to prove it," 30 June 2019 At the front of the house, two doors attest to two wives who lived here in Mormon polygamy with their husband sometime in the first decade of the twentieth century. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "Ramblin’ Man," 24 June 2019 Two maximum entanglements at once — quantum polygamy — simply cannot happen, which suggests that the smooth, continuous space-time inside the throats of black holes can’t exist. Quanta Magazine, "Wormholes Untangle a Black Hole Paradox," 24 Apr. 2015 RadarOnline first pointed out that, under Arizona state law, polygamy is not allowed. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "Could Kody Brown and the Sister Wives Actually Go to Jail Now That Their in Flagstaff?," 14 Apr. 2019 The practice of polygamy was common; many of the paintings show kings consorting with multiple women. Sharmila Mukherjee, The Seattle Times, "SAM’s ‘Peacock in the Desert’ opens the doors of our perception to the marvelous," 2 Jan. 2019 The maximum sentence for polygamy under the region's criminal code is five years in prison. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "2 men with 29 wives and 160 children between them sentenced to house arrest following polygamy conviction," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'polygamy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of polygamy

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for polygamy

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for polygamy

The first known use of polygamy was in 1538

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More Definitions for polygamy



English Language Learners Definition of polygamy

: the state or practice of being married to more than one person at the same time


po·​lyg·​a·​my | \ -mē How to pronounce polygamy (audio) \
plural polygamies

Medical Definition of polygamy

: marriage in which a spouse of either sex may have more than one mate at the same time — compare polyandry, polygyny


po·​lyg·​a·​my | \ pə-ˈli-gə-mē How to pronounce polygamy (audio) \

Legal Definition of polygamy

: the offense of having several and specifically more than two spouses at one time — compare bigamy

Other Words from polygamy

polygamous \ -​məs How to pronounce polygamous (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on polygamy

What made you want to look up polygamy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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