concubine

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n concubine a woman who cohabits with an important man
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Concubine A wife of inferior condition; a lawful wife, but not united to the man by the usual ceremonies, and of inferior condition. Such were Hagar and Keturah, the concubines of Abraham; and such concubines were allowed by the Roman laws. Their children were not heirs of their father.
    • Concubine A woman who cohabits with a man without being his wife; a paramour.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n concubine A paramour, male or female.
    • n concubine A wife of inferior condition; one whose relation is in some respects that of a lawful wife, but who has not been united to the husband by the usual ceremonies: as, Hagar and Keturah, the concubines of Abraham. Such concubines were allowed by the Greek and Roman laws, and for many centuries they were more or less tolerated by the church, for both priests and laymen. The concubine of a priest was sometimes called a priestess. See concubinage, 3.
    • n concubine A woman who cohabits with a man without being married to him; a kept mistress.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Concubine kong′kū-bīn a woman who cohabits or lives with a man without being married
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F., fr. L. concubina,; con-, + cubare, to lie down, concumbere, to lie together, akin to E. cubit,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. concubinacon, together, cubāre, to lie down.

Usage

In literature:

Under this code a man was permitted to have one wife and a concubine.
"The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English" by R. V. Pierce
If you thought thus, or think, why not retain Your king of concubines?
"The Works of Lord Byron" by Lord Byron
He had seven hundred wives of princely birth, and three hundred concubines.
"The Children's Bible" by Henry A. Sherman
They were all descended from Duke Huan by a concubine.
"The Sayings Of Confucius" by Confucius
The concubine of a priest is a wicked woman, but she is not a social abomination.
"Folkways" by William Graham Sumner
After being kept three months in irons, Amady was released and in part consoled with a concubine.
"The Journal of Negro History, Volume 7, 1922" by Various
For is not my daughter the captive and concubine of an insane tuft-hunter?
"The Goose Man" by Jacob Wassermann
Out here, a native can have two or three wives and as many concubines as he likes.
"The Kangaroo Marines" by R. W. Campbell
A married man would sometimes entertain a concubine, but never had more than one wife.
"A New Voyage Round the World in the Years 1823, 24, 25, and 26. Vol. 1" by Otto von Kotzebue
Robert, a nephew of the first castellan, had wedded Edith, a concubine of Henry I.
"Stray Studies from England and Italy" by John Richard Greene
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In poetry:

"Nocturnal cyclops"
"Crystal concubine"
———-
Pocked with personification
the fossil virgin of the skies
waxes and wanes——
"Lunar Baedeker" by Mina Loy
Thou my scarlet concubine
Draining heart’s blood to the lees
To empurple those divine
Lips with living luxuries
Life importunate to appease
Drought insatiable of wine!
"Lyric of Love to Leah" by Aleister Crowley
O singers, resinous and soft your songs
Above the sacred whisper of the pines,
Give virgin lips to cornfield concubines,
Being dreams of Christ to dusky cane-lipped throngs.
"Georgia Dusk" by Jean Toomer
Come, my love, my dove, & pour
From thy cup the serpent wine
Brimmed & breathless -secret store
Of my crimson concubine
Surfeit spirit in the shrine-
Devil -Goddess -Virgin -Whore.
"Lyric of Love to Leah" by Aleister Crowley
The last of our favorites fell
In the hands of the Romans, then what are we defending?
Not a single concubine remains in our palace…
Who makes coffee… and sex…
Then what are we defending??
"The Hasteners" by Nizar Qabbani
Not he!—"Of all the airts that blow,"
He dearly loves the soft South-west,
That tells where rice and cotton grow,
And man is, like the Patriarchs, blest
(So say some eloquent divines)
With God-given slaves; and concubines.
"The Gag" by John Pierpont

In news:

Men had concubines, mistresses and access to prostitutes, until everybody decided marriage had to be egalitarian and fairsey.
Director Chen Kaige ("Farewell My Concubine," "Sacrifice") looks at how media and technology have influenced a society relegated to sound bites and where perception becomes reality.
A Japanese government panel's recommendation that a female line should be allowed to take the throne has sparked debate over women's rights, genetics and the merits of the concubine system.
Marriage equality supporters had been passing around a graphical reminder that the "biblical definition" of marriage includes concubines, polygamists, and slavery.
Ever since Farewell My Concubine way back in 1993, Chen Kaige's movies have tended to be beautiful but empty, all dressed up but with no place to go.
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