Sunday, January 13, 2008


Can anyone give me both a working and practical definition for POLYGAMY, POLYANDRY, and POLYAMORY?
I'm reading an article in the NY Times today about Carla Bruni, and she describes herself in believing in two of the above three. My luddite dictionary makes little distinction among them.


marc (b) said...

Even though I am not a native speaker, I will give it a try.

There is some difference, but not so very much. Only 'instrumental'.

Polygamy, in origin Greek, is one man having relations with more than one woman.

Polyandry is one woman having fun with more than one man.

Wile polyamory can be all kinds of combination. More than two people that is.

Which of these Carla has on her mind, is not so clear. Cuckolding Nicolas...?


Kaz said...

Marc has it correct, but for pure definition, I always go finally to my Oxford English Dictionary, wherein POLYGAMY is given as the practice of having more than one spouse. It's a genderless noun. Possibly a bi-sexual one.

POLYANDRY is given as the practice of having more than one husband at a time. So, it's a feminine noun.

POLYAMORY is not listed, but parsing the word makes it seem to mean many loves (neutral). Even the zoological definitions are similar, referring to multiple matings of a single individual within a breeding season.

In practical terms, there is no real difference in the words excepting in their grammatical use. Menage seems a sensible, less confusing substitute when mixed or single gender is not an issue.

slave bootsie said...

Howdy Swordfish,
Now that i know what all that means if it ever comes up in conversation or scrabble i'll know what we're talking about.

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