• WordNet 3.6
    • n bigamy the offense of marrying someone while you have a living spouse from whom no valid divorce has occurred
    • n bigamy having two spouses at the same time
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Bigamy (Law) The offense of marrying one person when already legally married to another.☞ It is not strictly correct to call this offense bigamy: it more properly denominated polygamy, i. e., having a plurality of wives or husbands at once, and in several statutes in the United States the offense is classed under the head of polygamy. In the canon law bigamy was the marrying of two virgins successively, or one after the death of the other, or once marrying a widow. This disqualified a man for orders, and for holding ecclesiastical offices. Shakespeare uses the word in the latter sense. "Base declension and loathed bigamy ."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n bigamy Literally, double marriage; remarriage during the existence of a former marriage; in law, the offense of having two or more wives or husbands at the same time. To constitute the offense, which by statute law is a felony, it is necessary, by the law of many jurisdictions, that the accused should have actual or constructive knowledge that the first wife or husband was still living when the second one was taken, and that the second marriage should have been one solemnized under the forms of law, and not merely an informal marriage resting on the contract of the parties, or their holding out each other to the world as husband and wife. Where these elements of knowledge and of formality are wanting, the second marriage is still generally invalid, but not bigamous in the criminal sense.
    • n bigamy Second marriage; remarriage of a widow or widower. In the early church, before the establishment of clerical celibacy, such remarriage on the part of a man was generally regarded as an impediment to holy orders. Marriage with a widow is called bigamy by Shakspere in Richard III., iii. 7.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Bigamy big′am-i the crime of having two wives or two husbands at once
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  • Erica Jong
    “Bigamy is having one husband too many. Monogamy is the same.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. bigamie, fr. L. bigamus, twice married; bis, twice + Gr. , marriage; prob. akin to Skt. jāmis, related, and L. gemini, twins, the root meaning to bind, join,: cf. F. bigamie,. Cf. Digamy
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.—L. bi-, bis, twice, and Gr. gamos, marriage.


In literature:

Surely they don't give that long for bigamy?
"Clayhanger" by Arnold Bennett
Besides, a fellow like that isn't really afraid of a charge of bigamy.
"The Angel of Terror" by Edgar Wallace
Thus, the slave-trade was long pursued, and duelling was deemed right, and bigamy was practised.
"Select Temperance Tracts" by American Tract Society
Poverty excused bigamy on the part of a deserted wife.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1" by Various
In taking Sir Robert Booth's daughter to Church, he was said to have committed bigamy.
"A Book About Lawyers" by John Cordy Jeaffreson
Her bigamy may have been innocent, or at least, an unavoidable accident.
"Robert Orange" by John Oliver Hobbes
She wrote to me threatening to have him arrested for bigamy.
"The Red Watch" by J. A. Currie
It meant bigamy to admit it.
"The Dark Star" by Robert W. Chambers
She was determined, however, to prosecute him for bigamy.
"The Mysterious Murder of Pearl Bryan" by Unknown
When you accuse my wife of bigamy that is not quarrelling with me!
"Is He Popenjoy?" by Anthony Trollope
Bigamy is a sin in the whole of Europe but the south-eastern corner, and there it is a virtue, sanctioned by the laws of religion.
"Flowers of Freethought" by George W. Foote
Bigamy one can understand: but how it should mean nothing!
"A Country Gentleman and his Family" by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant
It was bigamy, however much you chose to prevaricate.
"When Ghost Meets Ghost" by William Frend De Morgan
The synod legislated also concerning marriage, bigamy, adultery, rape, abortion, seductive arts and obscenity.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 7, Slice 2" by Various
He was there to defend Earl Lovel on a charge of bigamy.
"Lady Anna" by Anthony Trollope
That's the trouble with bigamy.
"The Crow's Nest" by Clarence Day, Jr.
But as he was already up to his eyes in hot water he had had no choice but to blow his brains out or commit bigamy.
"Eyes Like the Sea" by Mór Jókai
THE woman who is wedded to an art and also to a man pays the full penalty for that kind of bigamy.
"Reflections of a Bachelor Girl" by Helen Rowland
Young girls are dangerous and might lure them into matrimony; but they have no fear of bigamy.
"Maids Wives and Bachelors" by Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
He committed bigamy, but kings and queens may do things we mayn't.
"An Englishman in Paris" by Albert D. (Albert Dresden) Vandam

In news:

Reese Witherspoon's Mother Sues To Protect Father From Bigamy .
Reese Witherspoon's father sued for bigamy .
Reese Witherspoon's parents in bigamy dispute.
Reese Witherspoon 's family is embroiled in a bizarre lawsuit -- her father is being sued for bigamy by none other than Reese's own mother and his wife for marrying another woman.
Reese Witherspoon's mom suing her husband for bigamy .
Reese Witherspoon's Father John Sued for Bigamy By Wife Betty.
Reese Witherspoon's Father Sued For Bigamy .
Reese Witherspoon's dad sued for bigamy .
After a short deliberation, a Texas jury found a former high-ranking follower of Warren Jeffs guilty of bigamy Wednesday.
Woman discovers husband's bigamy through Facebook.
A Pierce County corrections officer is on unpaid administrative leave after prosecutors charged him with bigamy .
'Sister Wives' Family Moving Forward with Lawsuit Challenging Bigamy Law.
What, exactly, is bigamy .
1806 – Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel after Dickinson accuses Jackson's wife of bigamy (More info).
'Embarrassed' Pierce jailer guilty of 1 count of attempted bigamy.