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 By then, Latter-day Saints had long given up polygamy (though some had clung to it, even after President Wilford Woodruff’s 1890 Manifesto) and were moving into the religious mainstream. The Salt Lake Tribune, "The Tribune has been connected to Mormonism since its beginning. But as Utah grows more diverse, will that continue?," 17 Apr. 2021 During the series' season 10 finale on Sunday evening, Christine discussed her desire to leave Flagstaff, Arizona, and move back to Utah after polygamy was decriminalized in the state — an idea that her plural family wasn't on board with. Natalie Stone, PEOPLE.com, "Sister Wives' Christine Brown Talks 'Roller Coaster' Marriage to Kody: I've 'Changed Phenomenally'," 19 Apr. 2021 But the church disavowed polygamy in 1890 and today condemns the practice. New York Times, "Tom Green, Convicted Polygamist, Is Dead at 72," 5 Mar. 2021 Closer to home, Latter-day Saints have their own history with a momentous manifesto, the 1890 edict that marked the beginning of the end of polygamy in the faith. The Salt Lake Tribune, "There’s a new ‘manifesto’ circulating among Latter-day Saints, and it’s ‘radical’," 5 Dec. 2020 The Browns visit their polygamist friends to discuss the possibility that polygamy will be decriminalized in Utah. Washington Post, "What to watch this weekend: ‘Allen v. Farrow’ on HBO," 20 Feb. 2021 Nine years earlier, church President Wilford Woodruff had issued the 1890 Manifesto, marking the beginning of the end of Latter-day Saint polygamy. Becky Jacobs, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Martha Hughes Cannon’s life was more complex than iconic role as first female state senator," 11 Oct. 2020 Barrett also faced another question related to religion — on whether polygamy might again come before the court — posed earlier Wednesday by Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Lee Davidson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Sen. Mike Lee asks Amy Coney Barrett about religious freedom, persecution," 14 Oct. 2020 Utah women later lost suffrage under a federal law that targeted polygamy. Becky Jacobs, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah women of color were part of fight for equal suffrage, historians say," 16 Aug. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of polygamy was in 1538

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Statistics for polygamy

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Polygamy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polygamy. Accessed 9 May. 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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