Adultery Definition

ə-dŭltə-rē, -trē
Consensual sexual intercourse between a married person and a person other than the spouse.
American Heritage
Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and a woman not his wife, or between a married woman and a man not her husband.
Webster's New World

The voluntary sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than his or her spouse. The consent of both parties and penetration are required for adultery to exist. Under the common law, only a married woman could commit adultery, but most states now apply the term to married men as well. Also, in the states where adultery is still a crime, most statutes now provide that the unmarried sexual partner of a married person can also be charged with the offense. See also criminal conversation, fornication, and rape.

Webster's New World Law

Sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than their spouse.

She engaged in adultery because her spouse has a low libido, while hers is very high.
(biblical) Lewdness or unchastity of thought as well as act, as forbidden by the seventh commandment.

Other Word Forms of Adultery



Origin of Adultery

  • From the Old French scholarly form adultere (“violation of conjugal faith”) (in Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons, 12c.), from Latin adulterium, from adulter. Replaced the older form avoutrie, from the popular Old French forms avouterie or aoulterie. Compare French adultère (“adultery”). Old English word was æwbryce (“breach of lawful marriage”).

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English from Old French adultere from Latin adulterium from adulter adulterer adulterate

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

Find Similar Words

Find similar words to adultery using the buttons below.

Words Starting With

Words Ending With