relationship form where each individual has only one partner during their lifetime or at any one time

Monogamy (Greek: μονός+γάμος; monos+gamos meaning one+marriage) is a form of marriage in which a person or animal has only one spouse at any one time.[1]


The word monogamy comes from the Greek words "μονός", monos which means one or alone, and "γάμος", gamos which means marriage.[2]


Monogamy is one of the beliefs of Judaism and Christianity (except for the fundamentalist branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) who strictly follow the teachings of Joseph Smith, who allowed polygamy and had many wives). In Jewish and Christian doctrine, marriage is between one husband and wife.


In most countries, monogamy is the only legal form of marriage, either between a man and a woman in most of these countries, and between two persons of the same gender (gay marriage) mainly in the Western world. In these countries polygamy is illegal, and a person who has more than one spouse can be prosecuted for bigamy.


  1. "What is monogamy among people in simple words and does it exist".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. Cf. "Monogamy" in Britannica World Language Dictionary, R.C. Preble (ed.), Oxford-London 1962, p. 1275:1. The practice or principle of marrying only once. opp. to digamy now rare 2. The condition, rule or custom of being married to only one person at a time (opp. to polygamy or bigamy) 1708. 3. Zool. The habit of living in pairs, or having only one mate; The same text repeats The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, W. Little, H.W. Fowler, J. Coulson (ed.), C.T. Onions (rev. & ed.,) Oxford 1969, 3rd edition, vol.1, p.1275; OED Online. March 2010. Oxford University Press. 23 Jun. 2010 Cf. Monogamy in Merriam-Webster Dictionary