Definition of endogamy in English:



mass noun
  • 1Anthropology
    The custom of marrying only within the limits of a local community, clan, or tribe.

    Compare with exogamy
    • ‘In recent years, community and regional endogamy have declined.’
    • ‘While not all Arab Americans practice cousin endogamy or engage in arranged marriages, most demonstrate a strong preference for religious endogamy in the selection of marriage partners.’
    • ‘Social status was ascribed and sustained by class endogamy.’
    • ‘Though marriage outside the ethnic group was tolerated, these people practiced a high rate of endogamy, which strengthened family and community bonds.’
    • ‘The tribe often encourage endogamy out of the belief that it will help keep the tribal identity from being lost.’
  • 2Biology
    The fusion of reproductive cells from related individuals; inbreeding; self-pollination.

    • ‘In alfalfa and maize, seed production was shown to be severely depressed by endogamy.’
    • ‘This, in plant species, can buffer against genetic erosion resulting from processes of endogamy and genetic drift.’


Mid 19th century: from endo- ‘within’ + Greek gamos ‘marriage’, on the pattern of polygamy.