Concubine definition

kŏngkyə-bīn, kŏn-
Frequency:
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.
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In certain polygamous societies, a secondary wife, of inferior social and legal status.
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(law) A woman who cohabits with a man without being legally married to him.
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(law) A woman who cohabits with a man although not legally married to him.
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(especially formerly in Arabic societies, as well as in ancient Eastern societies) A woman residing in a harem and kept, as by a sultan or emperor, for sexual purposes.
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A woman attached to a man solely for reproduction, and who cares for the resulting children without any romantic relationship.
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A woman who lives with a man, but who is not a wife.
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A slave-girl for sexual service prominent in all ancient cultures.
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Signifies a relationship where the male is the dominant partner, socially and economically.
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A woman kept by a man who is high in hierarchial society in addition to his wives, e.g in the imperial harem or within a household.
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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.

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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
concubine
Plural:
concubines

Origin of concubine

  • Middle English from Old French from Latin concubīna com- com- cubāre to lie down

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

  • Origin: 1250–1300; Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin concubīna, equivalent to concub- (variant stem of concumbō (“to lie together”)) + feminine suffix -īna.

    From Wiktionary