Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Law A woman who cohabits with a man without being legally married to him.
  • n. 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A woman who lives with a man, but who is not a wife.
  • n. A slave-girl for sexual service prominent in all ancient cultures.
  • n. Signifies a relationship where the male is the dominant partner, socially and economically
  • n. A woman attached to a man solely for reproduction, and who cares for the resulting children without any romantic relationship.
  • n. a woman residing in a harem and kept, as by a sultan or emperor, for sexual purposes.
  • n. 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A woman who cohabits with a man without being his wife; a paramour.
  • n. A wife of inferior condition; a lawful wife, but not united to the man by the usual ceremonies, and of inferior condition. Such were Hagar and Keturah, the concubines of Abraham; and such concubines were allowed by the Roman laws. Their children were not heirs of their father.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A paramour, male or female.
  • n. A wife of inferior condition; one whose relation is in some respects that of a lawful wife, but who has not been united to the husband by the usual ceremonies: as, Hagar and Keturah, the concubines of Abraham.
  • n. A woman who cohabits with a man without being married to him; a kept mistress.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a woman who cohabits with an important man

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin concubīna : com-, com- + cubāre, to lie down.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth 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. (Wiktionary)

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