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monogamymonogamia (lat.); Monogamie (ger.)

  • 1) The condition, rule, or custom of being married to only one person at a time (opposed to polygamy or bigamy). Now, also (in extended use): the practice or principle of remaining faithful to one person during the course of a sexual relationship other than marriage. (OED 2011)
    c. 200 AD

    Prima species est uirginitas a natiuitate; secunda, uirginitas a secunda natiuitate, id est a lauacro, quae aut in matrimonio purificat[o] ex compacto aut in uiduitate perseuerat ex arbitrio; tertius gradus superest monogamia, cum post matrimonium unum interceptum exinde sexui renuntiatur.

    Tertullianus (c. 200). De exhortatione castitatis: Cap. 1; id., De monogamia.


    Monogamy [...] the Marrying of one only Wife, or Husband

    Boyer, A. (1702). Dictionnaire royal françois et anglois, vol. 1. 


    Monogamy is Agreeable to the Primary Intention of a Marriage-state.

    Anonymus (1708). British Apollo 82, 1.

  • 2) The habit of animals, esp. certain birds and primates, of living in pairs, or of having only one mate. (OED 2011)

    [Among the monogamous birds several are to be found, after pairing-time, single, and of each sex.

    White, G. (1770). [Letter to Pennant, 12 May]. The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (London 1789): 81.]


    Im Brüten [der Vögel] wechselt das Mänchen mit dem Weibgen ab, wenn sie in der Monogamie leben.

    Borowski, G.H. (1781). Gemeinnüzzige Naturgeschichte des Thierreichs, vol. 2: 53.


    Thevenot is in the right when he asserts, that the ostrich lives in monogamy, or with one female.

    Forster, G. (transl.) (1785). Sparrman, A., A Voyage to the Cape of Good Hope, vol. 2: 120 [orig.: Resa till Goda Hopps-Udden, 1783].


    These apes [scil. the spider monkeys Ateles] […] live in monogamy.

    Stark, J. (1828). Elements of Natural History, vol. 1: 51.