polygamy

noun

po·​lyg·​a·​my pə-ˈli-gə-mē How to pronounce polygamy (audio)
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
polygamist noun
polygamize intransitive verb

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Though travel may come in time, with Usman's green card, the big damper on their plans is the U.S. law against polygamy. Kelly Wynne, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2022 The polygamy of Mormonism’s second prophet, Brigham Young, is well known. And David Noyce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Oct. 2022 The group splintered from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when leaders there agreed to ban polygamy to appease the United States government. Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Sep. 2022 These practices, which have evolved over time, have required The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to figure out how to ritually endorse multiple marriages, heavenly polygamy and gender equality. Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Oct. 2022 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave up polygamy in the 19th century under pressure from Washington, and obviously human sacrifice would never be tolerated. William A. Galston, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2022 The first Saltair was opened in 1893 — only three years after church leaders formally abandoned the practice of polygamy. Palak Jayswal, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Aug. 2022 The church also has published essays on a range of thorny historical and doctrinal issues from polygamy and race to its belief in Heavenly Mother and humanity’s godlike potential. Kaitlyn Bancroft, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 July 2022 Nor did many Americans trust the LDS Church, partially because of the practice of polygamy — which church leaders formally disavowed around the turn of the 20th century. The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 July 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Late Latin polygamia "frequent marriage," borrowed from Greek polygamía, from polýgamos "married several times, polygamous" + -ia -y entry 2

First Known Use

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of polygamy was in 1538

Dictionary Entries Near polygamy

Cite this Entry

“Polygamy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polygamy. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition

polygamy

noun

po·​lyg·​a·​my -mē How to pronounce polygamy (audio)
plural polygamies
: marriage in which a spouse of either sex may have more than one mate at the same time compare polyandry, polygyny

Legal Definition

polygamy

noun

po·​lyg·​a·​my pə-ˈli-gə-mē How to pronounce polygamy (audio)
: the offense of having several and specifically more than two spouses at one time compare bigamy
polygamous adjective
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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