from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A theoretical early state of human society (as postulated by 19th-century anthropologists) which was characterized by the absence of the institution of marriage in any form, and where women were the common property of their tribe, and the children never knew their fathers. Synonym: "primitive promiscuity".
  • n. An ancient Greek custom according to which a man's wife was forbidden to accompany him to many public events, including the banquets or symposia which made up a large part of Greek social life, and where men sought out the company of courtesans or hetaerae instead.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek ἑταῖρος (hetairos, "companion") + -ism.


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  • hetaerism, hetairism

    1. the practice of concubinage.

    2. a social system characterized by its regarding women as common property. — hetaerist, hetairist, n. — hetaeristic, hetairistic, adj.

    The Free Dictionary

    he·tae·rism (hi tir′iz′əm)


    1. concubinage

    2. a system of communal marriage supposed to have been practiced among some early peoples

    Etymology: Gr hetairismos < hetairizein, to be a hetaera: see hetaera

    Also hetairism he·tai′·rism′ (-tī′riz′əm)

    - Webster's New World College Dictionary

    August 24, 2009