Polygamy vs. Polygyny

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Polygamy and Polygyny is that the Polygamy is a practice of marrying multiple spouses and Polygyny is a plural marriage with a man having more than one wife simultaneously.

  • 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.

  • Polygyny

    Polygyny (; from Neoclassical Greek πολυγυνία from πολύ- poly- “many”, and γυνή gyne “woman” or “wife”) is the most common and accepted form of polygamy, entailing the marriage of a man with several women. Most countries that permit polygamy are Muslim-majority countries in which polygyny is the only form permitted. (Polyandry is the practice of a woman having two or more husbands.)

    In some countries where polygamy is illegal, and sometimes even when legal, at times it is known for men to have one or more mistresses, whom they do not marry. The status of a mistress is not that of a wife, and any children born of such relationships were and some still are considered illegitimate and subject to legal disadvantage.

  • 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.

  • Polygyny (noun)

    The state or practice of having several wives at the same time; plurality of wives; marriage to several wives.

    “The Principles of Sociology}} |author=w|Herbert Spencer |year=1883 |page=685 |passage=We may infer that in most cases where polygyny exists, monogamy co-exists to a greater extent, and in all other cases to a considerable extent.”

  • Polygyny (noun)

    The condition of an ant colony that has multiple egg-laying queens.

  • Polygyny (noun)

    polygamy in which a man has more than one wife.

  • Polygyny (noun)

    a pattern of mating in which a male animal has more than one female mate.

Oxford Dictionary

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