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concubine

[kong-kyuh-bahyn, kon-] /ˈkɒŋ kyəˌbaɪn, ˈkɒn-/
noun
1.
a woman who cohabits with a man to whom she is not legally married, especially one regarded as socially or sexually subservient; mistress.
2.
(among polygamous peoples) a secondary wife, usually of inferior rank.
3.
(especially formerly in Muslim societies) a woman residing in a harem and kept, as by a sultan, for sexual purposes.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin concubīna, equivalent to concub- (variant stem of concumbere to lie together; see con-, incumbent) + -īna feminine suffix
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for concubine

concubine

/ˈkɒŋkjʊˌbaɪn; ˈkɒn-/
noun
1.
(in polygamous societies) a secondary wife, usually of lower social rank
2.
a woman who cohabits with a man
Derived Forms
concubinary (kɒŋˈkjʊbɪnərɪ) noun, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French, from Latin concubīna, from concumbere to lie together, from cubare to lie
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for concubine
n.

c.1300, from Latin concubina (fem.), from concumbere "to lie with, to lie together, to cohabit," from com- "with" (see com-) + cubare "to lie down" (see cubicle). Recognized by law among polygamous peoples as "a secondary wife."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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concubine in the Bible

in the Bible denotes a female conjugally united to a man, but in a relation inferior to that of a wife. Among the early Jews, from various causes, the difference between a wife and a concubine was less marked than it would be amongst us. The concubine was a wife of secondary rank. There are various laws recorded providing for their protection (Ex. 21:7; Deut. 21:10-14), and setting limits to the relation they sustained to the household to which they belonged (Gen. 21:14; 25:6). They had no authority in the family, nor could they share in the household government. The immediate cause of concubinage might be gathered from the conjugal histories of Abraham and Jacob (Gen. 16;30). But in process of time the custom of concubinage degenerated, and laws were made to restrain and regulate it (Ex. 21:7-9). Christianity has restored the sacred institution of marriage to its original character, and concubinage is ranked with the sins of fornication and adultery (Matt. 19:5-9; 1 Cor. 7:2).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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