Legal Dictionary

bigamy

Legal Definition of bigamy

  1. Being married to more than one person at the same time. This is a criminal offence in most countries.

Definition of bigamy

Etymology

    From Old French bigamie, from Latin bigamia, bigamus, from bi- + Greek γάμος (gamos)

Pronunciation

  • IPA: /ˈbɪɡəˌmi/

Noun

bigamy (plural bigamies)

  1. The state of having two (legal or illegal) spouses simultaneously
  2. (ecclesiastical) A second marriage

Synonyms

  • (a second marriage): digamy, deuterogamy

Derived terms

  • bigamist
  • bigamous

Related terms

See also

  • bi-
  • polyamory
  • polyandry
  • polygyny
  • plural marriage

Further reading

Bigamy is the act or condition of a person marrying another person while still being lawfully married to a second person. Bigamy is listed (and sometimes prosecuted) as a crime in most western countries. For example, in the United Kingdom, by law, a married person is not allowed to marry again as long as their first marriage continues.

Often the term bigamy is used where two or more spouses are unaware of each other, in contrast to polygamy where normally all spouses know about one another.

In the United States, the Model Penal Code (section 230.1) defines bigamy as a misdemeanor and polygamy as a felony. Having more than one spouse at the same time gets classified as polygamy, and bumped to a felony, if it is done "in purported exercise of a plural marriage..." According to Joel Feinberg in Moral Limits of the Criminal Law: "Righteously, flaunting one's illicit relationships, according to the Code, is apparently a morally aggravating circumstance, more punishable than its clandestine and deceptive counterpart."

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Translation of bigamy in Malay

Bigami

Noun

The state of having two (legal or illegal) spouses simultaneously

  1. bigami



SHARE THIS PAGE

TOP LEGAL TERMS THIS WEEK
1.     lex fori
2.     landed property
3.     lex situs
4.     respondent
5.     default judgment
6.     tort law
7.     living will
8.     lex causae
9.     law
10.     salacious