- The definition of a concubine is a woman who is a mistress to a man with a wife or who cannot be married to her because of a difference in social status.
An example of a concubine is one of the mistresses of an important king who has many wives and mistresses.
- Law a woman who cohabits with a man although not legally married to him
- in certain polygamous societies, a secondary wife, of inferior social and legal status
Origin: Middle English ; from Old French concubin(e) ; from Classical Latin concubina (masc. concubinus) ; from concumbere, to lie with ; from com-, with plush cubare, to lie down: see cube
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Law A woman who cohabits with a man without being legally married to him.
- In certain societies, such as imperial China, a woman contracted to a man as a secondary wife, often having few legal rights and low social status.
Origin: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin concubīna : com-, com- + cubāre, to lie down.