Monogamy vs. Polygamy

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Monogamy and Polygamy is that the Monogamy is a Relationship form where each individual has only one partner during their lifetime or at any one time and Polygamy is a practice of marrying multiple spouses.

  • Monogamy

    Monogamy ( mə-NOG-ə-mee) is a form of relationship in which an individual has only one partner during their lifetime — alternately, only one partner at any one time (serial monogamy) — as compared to non-monogamy (e.g., polygamy or polyamory). The term is also applied to the social behavior of some animals, referring to the state of having only one mate at any one time.

  • Polygamy

    Polygamy (from Late Greek πολυγαμία, polygamía, “state of marriage to many spouses”) is the practice of marrying multiple spouses. When a man is married to more than one wife at a time, sociologists call this polygyny. When a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry. If a marriage includes multiple husbands and wives, it can be called a group marriage.

    In contrast, monogamy is marriage consisting of only two parties. Like “monogamy”, the term “polygamy” is often used in a de facto sense, applied regardless of whether the state recognizes the relationship. In sociobiology and zoology, researchers use polygamy in a broad sense to mean any form of multiple mating.

    Worldwide, different societies variously encourage, accept or outlaw polygamy. Of societies which allow or tolerate polygamy, in the vast majority of cases the form accepted is polygyny. According to the Ethnographic Atlas (1998), of 1,231 societies noted, 588 had frequent polygyny, 453 had occasional polygyny, 186 were monogamous and 4 had polyandry; although more recent research suggests polyandry may be more common than previously thought. From a religious point of view, “The bible shows over 36 named men who had more than one wife. “In cultures which practice polygamy, its prevalence among that population is often connected to class and socioeconomic status.From a legal point of view, in many countries, although marriage is legally monogamous (a person can only have one spouse, and bigamy is illegal), adultery is not illegal, leading to a situation of de facto polygamy being allowed, although without legal recognition for non-official “spouses”.

    According to scientific studies, the human mating system is considered to be moderately polygynous, based on both surveys of world populations, and on characteristics of human reproductive physiology.

  • Monogamy (noun)

    A form of sexual bonding involving a permanent pair bond between two beings.


  • Monogamy (noun)

    The practise of being married to one person as opposed to multiple.


  • Polygamy (noun)

    The condition of having more than one spouse or marriage partner at one time.

  • Polygamy (noun)

    Specifically, polygyny, the marriage of a man to more than one wife, or the practice of having several wives, at the same time.

    “The Islamic form of polygamy is a husband with up to four wives.”

  • Polygamy (noun)

    The state or habit of having more than one sexual mate.

    “An insect queen actually practices polygamy only one day, while for an alpha-male defending his harem is the very essence of both his status and polygamy.”

  • Polygamy (noun)

    The condition or state of a plant which bears both perfect and unisexual flowers.

  • Monogamy (noun)

    the practice of marrying or state of being married to one person at a time

    “Judaism has journeyed from polygamy to strict monogamy”

  • Monogamy (noun)

    the practice or state of having a sexual relationship with only one partner

    “younger men were more likely to stray, saying monogamy was outdated”

  • Monogamy (noun)

    the habit of having only one mate at a time

    “monogamy is rare in most animal groups, but is common among birds”

Oxford Dictionary

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