Definition of adultery in English:



  • Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse.

    ‘she was committing adultery with a much younger man’
    • ‘The marriage has to be consummated before an extramarital affair becomes adultery.’
    • ‘It is not enough not to commit adultery; lustful thoughts must be set aside too.’
    • ‘She had left him during the period they held the licence, because of his adultery, but had returned to him.’
    • ‘However, it has been held that the petitioner need not find it intolerable to live with the respondent because of his adultery.’
    • ‘Husbands and others frequently bring charges of adultery against such wives.’
    • ‘Hence, adultery was thought of as sinful for women since it was a violation of the man's property etc.’
    • ‘He looks at his wife and his friend who he had so wrongfully accused of adultery 16 years ago.’
    • ‘Does this mean that a story about a female adulterer is noteworthy because male adultery is commonplace?’
    • ‘Am I to gather from this that adultery and unfaithfulness are being condoned?’
    • ‘Remarriage as adultery: Paul regarded it as adultery for a divorced person to remarry if the spouse was still alive.’
    • ‘You could hook up with someone else, but that would be adultery and adultery is wrong.’
    • ‘If married, the charge was not rape but adultery, and the case was heard in another court.’
    • ‘Within three years he had tired of Anne Boleyn and she was beheaded in 1536, accused of treason and adultery.’
    • ‘At the end of April 1536, Anne was accused of adultery with several men and incest with her brother George.’
    • ‘There are a lot of married men who are committing adultery in every new town they are moved to.’
    • ‘I didn't think that adultery was considered a crime, not by common law.’
    • ‘The moral code of the laity rigorously condemns adultery on the part of a woman.’
    • ‘That is why we have laws against assault, but we do not have laws against adultery or premarital sex.’
    • ‘Recent storylines have even been promoting adultery and sexual activities.’
    • ‘Among the seventeen great sins, unbelief is the greatest, more heinous than murder, theft, adultery and so on.’
    unfaithfulness, infidelity, falseness, disloyalty, unchastity, cuckoldry, extramarital sex, extramarital relations
    affair, liaison, intrigue, amour, entanglement, flirtation
    cheating, two-timing, fooling around, playing around, playing the field, carryings-on, hanky-panky, a bit on the side
    View synonyms


Late 15th century: from the obsolete noun adulter, from Latin adulter adulterer replacing an earlier form avoutrie, from Old French avouterie, likewise based on Latin adulter.