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

Examples of polygamy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Women in the Kuria tribe, a deeply patriarchal community, also face customs like female genital mutilation (FGM) and polygamy. Jay Parini, CNN, 7 Aug. 2021 Christine's hopes to say goodbye to Arizona came about after polygamy was decriminalized in Utah in early 2020. Natalie Stone, PEOPLE.com, 31 Aug. 2021 Members who continue to practice polygamy are excommunicated. CNN, 20 Aug. 2021 In the late 1800s, the debate over women’s suffrage was intertwined with polygamy in Utah. Becky Jacobs, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 July 2021 Indian authorities often do not prosecute tribal communities for polygamy. Swati Gupta And Zamira Rahim, CNN, 14 June 2021 There were sessions on polygamy and early Latter-day Saint experiences in Nauvoo, Ill., and Kirtland, Ohio, along with discussions of race, LGBTQ issues and the Mark Hofmann bombings. David Noyce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 June 2021 Ziona Chana, 76, the head of a local Christian sect that allows polygamy, died on Sunday, the chief minister of the state of Mizoram in the northeast of the country announced via Twitter. NBC News, 15 June 2021 An Indian man and head of a religious sect that practiced polygamy died on Sunday. Gabriela Miranda, USA TODAY, 15 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for polygamy

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The first known use of polygamy was in 1538

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Polygamy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polygamy. Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

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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 polygamy (audio) \ adjective


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