po·​lyg·​y·​ny | \ pə-ˈli-jə-nē How to pronounce polygyny (audio) \

Definition of polygyny

: the state or practice of having more than one wife or female mate at a time — compare polyandry, polygamy

Examples of polygyny in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Christian Artuso, an ornithologist with Bird Studies Canada, tells the magazine that this heretofore unseen behavior is the first documentation of polygyny (a male mating with two or more females) recorded for great horned owls as a species. Saryn Chorney, ajc, 3 May 2018 In fact, the causal relationship between polygyny and conflict is unclear. The Economist, 18 Jan. 2018 In the meantime, there has been a rise in the practice of polygyny, marriages in which the husband has more than one wife, particularly in cities like Philadelphia, New York and Chicago, Nadir said. Genevieve Glatsky, Philly.com, 28 June 2017 The greater the degree of polygyny, the larger the size difference. James Ryerson, New York Times, 5 Apr. 2016

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

First Known Use of polygyny

1780, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for polygyny

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The first known use of polygyny was in 1780

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Cite this Entry

“Polygyny.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polygyny. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for polygyny


po·​lyg·​y·​ny | \ pə-ˈlij-ə-nē How to pronounce polygyny (audio) \
plural polygynies

Medical Definition of polygyny

: the state or practice of having more than one wife or female mate at one time — compare polyandry, polygamy

Other Words from polygyny

polygynous \ -​nəs How to pronounce polygyny (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on polygyny

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for polygyny


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