Definition of bigamy in English:



  • [mass noun] The offence of marrying someone while already married to another person.

    • ‘In fact, laws against bigamy, adultery, and adult incest might be defended in the interest of preventing harm to others.’
    • ‘Within a year the resulting notoriety provoked the newly crowned James I to promulgate an Act that made bigamy a felony.’
    • ‘She wanted adequate safeguards against dowry, bigamy, adultery, and apostasy in the new legislation.’
    • ‘During his days in court, the criminal past of the self-confessed liar and philanderer emerged, with offences of bigamy, theft, fraud and criminal damage, and a faked suicide among two changes of identity.’
    • ‘In July, 1968, he appeared in court for bigamy, larceny and false pretences, with 116 offences considered, and was sentenced to two years jail, suspended for three years.’
    • ‘Of course, Trudy turns to old reliable Norval, but even he's smart enough to realize it would be bigamy for her to marry again.’
    • ‘A man was charged with bigamy for being married to 17 wives.’
    • ‘In 1882 Congress passed a law making bigamy a federal crime.’
    • ‘Then in December 1999 the district attorney's office charged him with bigamy because he was legally married to another woman.’
    • ‘For example, Denise Robins, a wildly successful Mills & Boon star of the 1930s, wrote of rape, abduction, bigamy, suicide, illegitimacy and divorce.’
    • ‘For instance, is a marriage subsequent to a civil union bigamy?’
    • ‘When she confronted him, ‘He told [her] that he was getting a pension and that he would give her one half of what he Recieved if she would not have him arrested for bigamy.’’
    • ‘But someone blew the whistle and Michael was arrested for bigamy and hauled before the courts.’
    • ‘Well, for instance, bigamy is a federal offence, and I have little doubt that the Commonwealth could prohibit people calling themselves married.’
    • ‘Adultery, bigamy, and desertion were acceptable legal grounds.’
    • ‘Sharpe on the other hand was recorded as marrying legally in November 1990 before committing her first offence of bigamy the following May.’
    • ‘But marriage itself is largely a creature of legal rules precluding divorce and prohibiting bigamy.’
    • ‘Police issued an arrest warrant for bigamy and John, who now lives on the Isle of Man, turned himself in last week.’
    • ‘Federal and state laws against bigamy and polygamy reflect that tradition.’
    • ‘She had been sentenced at Blackpool Magistrates' Court for an offence of bigamy committed in April 2002, which she admitted.’


Middle English: from Old French bigamie, from bigame bigamous, from late Latin bigamus, from bi- twice + Greek -gamos married.