Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[pol-ee-an-dree, pol-ee-an-] /ˈpɒl iˌæn dri, ˌpɒl iˈæn-/
the practice or condition of having more than one husband at one time.
Compare monandry (def 1).
(among female animals) the habit or system of having two or more mates, either simultaneously or successively.
Botany. the state of being polyandrous.
1770-80; < Greek polyandría. See poly-, -andry
Can be confused
bigamy, polyandry, polygamy, polygyny. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for polyandry
  • Why should the state care about polygamy or polyandry.
  • polyandry is largely confined to fish and birds, especially waders and shorebirds.
  • These religious groups practice polygyny, not polyandry.
  • The term polygamy covers polygyny, polyandry as well as group marriage.
  • The results from this study suggest the evolutionary practice of polyandry in honeybees is intimately linked to colony fitness.
  • Although monogamy was the norm, marriage variants such as sororal polygamy and polyandry were present.
British Dictionary definitions for polyandry


the practice or condition of being married to more than one husband at the same time Compare polygamy
the practice in animals of a female mating with more than one male during one breeding season
the condition in flowers of having a large indefinite number of stamens
See polygyny
Derived Forms
polyandrous, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from Greek poluandria, from poly- + -andria from anēr man
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for polyandry

1767, nativized form of polyandria. Related: Polyandrist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
polyandry in Culture
polyandry [(pol-ee-an-dree)]

A practice in which women have two or more husbands at the same time. A rare form of polygamy, polyandry is practiced by only a few cultures. (Compare monogamy.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for polyandry

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for polyandry

Scrabble Words With Friends