Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Consensual sexual intercourse between a married person and a person other than the spouse.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Violation of the marriage-bed; carnal connection of a married person with any other than the lawful spouse; in a more restricted sense, the wrong by a wife which introduces or may introduce a spurious offspring into a family.
  • noun In the seventh commandment of the decalogue, as generally understood, all manner of lewdness or unchastity in act or thought. See Mat. v. 28.
  • noun Eccles., intrusion into a bishopric during the life of the bishop.
  • noun In old arboriculture, the grafting of trees: so called from its being considered an unnatural union.
  • noun Adulteration; corruption: as, “all the adulteries of art,”
  • noun Injury; degradation; ruin.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The unfaithfulness of a married person to the marriage bed; sexual intercourse by a married man with another than his wife, or voluntary sexual intercourse by a married woman with another than her husband.
  • noun obsolete Adulteration; corruption.
  • noun Lewdness or unchastity of thought as well as act, as forbidden by the seventh commandment.
  • noun Faithlessness in religion.
  • noun (Old Law) The fine and penalty imposed for the offense of adultery.
  • noun (Eccl.) The intrusion of a person into a bishopric during the life of the bishop.
  • noun obsolete Injury; degradation; ruin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun extramarital sex that willfully and maliciously interferes with marriage relations

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French adultere, from Latin adulterium, from adulter, adulterer; see adulterate.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

Examples

  • That a Christian who marries several wives, commits natural adultery, is agreeable to the Lord's words, "_That it is not lawful to put away a wife, because from the beginning they were created to be one flesh; and that he who putteth away a wife without just cause, and marrieth another, committeth adultery_."

    The Delights of Wisdom Pertaining to Conjugial Love

  • “Is it—adultery”—the word adultery landed hard in the pit of her stomach—“is it a part of the profile?”

    The Life You Longed For

  • “Is it—adultery”—the word adultery landed hard in the pit of her stomach—“is it a part of the profile?”

    The Life You Longed For

  • “Is it—adultery”—the word adultery landed hard in the pit of her stomach—“is it a part of the profile?”

    The Life You Longed For

  • Ordinarily I would say that his adultery is and should be a private matter, but apparently he isn't doing such a good job in the office, either. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Sanford defends use of state airplane in op-ed

  • Yeah, that's what they call adultery by a public personality, a private matter.

    John Edwards admits he lied about Rielle Hunter.

  • AMANPOUR: That would mean in a country such as Britain, people would have their hands cut off for robbery, we'd be stoned for what you call adultery, hanged?

    CNN Transcript Mar 31, 2007

  • AMANPOUR: That would mean in a country such as Britain, people would have their hands cut off for robbery, we'd be stoned for what you call adultery, hanged?

    CNN Transcript Jan 21, 2007

  • AMANPOUR: That would mean in a country such as Britain, people would have their hands cut off for robbery, we'd be stoned for what you call adultery, hanged?

    CNN Transcript Jul 1, 2007

  • AMANPOUR: That would mean in a country such as Britain, people would have their hands cut off for robbery, we'd be stoned for what you call adultery, hanged?

    CNN Transcript Jun 16, 2007

Comments

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  • "He urged me, stating that he felt it his mission in life to urge me, to defile the marriage bed, to commit adultery at the earliest possible opportunity."

    Joyce, Ulysses, 15

    February 6, 2007

  • "2. In the seventh commandment of the decalogue, as generally understood, all manner of lewdness or unchastity in act or thought. See Mat. v. 28.

    3. Eccles., intrusion into a bishopric during the life of the bishop.

    4. In old arboriculture, the grafting of trees: so called from its being considered an unnatural union."

    --Century Dictionary

    See comments on houghmagandy.

    September 9, 2010

  • intrusion into a bishopric sounds delightfully naughty.

    September 9, 2010

  • As does grafting.

    September 9, 2010