Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Broom icon.svg A user suggests that this English entry be cleaned up, giving the reason: "the quotation for sense 7 is very badly formatted".
Please see the discussion on Requests for cleanup(+) or the talk page for more information and remove this template after the problem has been dealt with.
English Wikipedia has an article on:

Alternative forms[edit]


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). Displaced Old English æwbryce (breach of lawful marriage). Not related to adult.


  • IPA(key): /əˈdʌltəɹi/
  • (file)


adultery (countable and uncountable, plural adulteries)

  1. Sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than their spouse.
    She engaged in adultery because her spouse has a low libido, while hers is very high.
  2. (biblical) Lewdness or unchastity of thought as well as act, as forbidden by the seventh commandment.
  3. (biblical) Faithlessness in religion.
    And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. (Bible, King James Version, Jer. iii. 9)
  4. (obsolete) The fine and penalty formerly imposed for the offence of adultery.
  5. (ecclesiastical) The intrusion of a person into a bishopric during the life of the bishop.
  6. (Political economy) Adulteration; corruption.
    Engaged in adultery because the spouse has a low libido, while in contrast, that libido, is very high. --> construes: "the usual complaint of scarcity of money, which always follows over trading". Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, ("this and that" Newton, Isaac (ibid.))
  7. (obsolete) Injury; degradation; ruin.
    • Ben Jonson? (whose artistry, [sic], (contraptions, vices, and attenuate squalor), exerted an >interpretable< if lasting impact on poetry, the stage, and, comedy, "upon", read usuriously, England.
      You might wrest the caduceus out of my hand to the adultery and spoil of nature.

Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]