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

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 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 The Supreme Court first adopted the wall metaphor in an 1878 case upholding a federal law against polygamy in the territories. Barbara Perry, CNN, 29 June 2022 Although the LDS Church swore off the polygamy Joseph Smith preached in exchange for Utah’s admittance to the Union in 1896, thousands of fundamentalists still practice it in places like Colorado City, Arizona. Cassady Rosenblum, Rolling Stone, 28 June 2022 In 2020, the Utah Legislature reduced polygamy to an infraction — an offense less than some traffic tickets. The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Mar. 2021 Gill says that ice is even thicker in Utah, which was settled by LDS pioneers fleeing religious persecution back east, mainly for the practice of polygamy. Cassady Rosenblum, Rolling Stone, 28 June 2022 The traditional Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints banned polygamy in 1890. David Kelly, Los Angeles Times, 14 June 2022 The splinter sect of the Mormon church had been practicing polygamy in the American West for decades, often with underage brides, but under Warren's leadership, the FLDS Church became an even more sinister operation. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, 7 June 2022 The brothers then joined the School of the Prophets movement, which practiced polygamy. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, 14 May 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.

First Known Use of polygamy

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of polygamy was in 1538

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Last Updated

31 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Polygamy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polygamy. Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for polygamy


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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