Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Polygamy and Bigamy

Polygamy vs Bigamy

One might find it easy to define the terms “polygamy” and “bigamy” by plainly looking at their prefixes. It is because if you literally translate “gamy” which means “marriage” and the prefix “poly” to mean “many” and “bi” as “two,” then you will come up with the definitions of the former as “many marriages” and the latter as “two marriages.” But this is not really the true meaning of the latter. Rather it is just, in a sense, somewhat true.

To be exact, bigamy is a criminal offense used in court when a legally married individual marries a secondary or additional spouse after a prior legal marriage. By contrast, polygamy is when one has more than one spouse at the same time. This clearly shows that the differences between bigamy and polygamy are not based on the number of mates, spouses, or marriages.

The grounds for bigamy are also met when you’re having two legal marriages and yet none of the two know that you’re legally married to another partner. As a result, the bigamist ends up having two marriage licenses. In a court of law, the first one will be considered as the legal case.

Polygamy is more of a religious practice which allows the household head to take home more than one spouse. The striking difference with polygamy from bigamy is that when the polygamous head brings home more than one spouse, these spouses know of each others’ existence in the life of the household head. They are even considered to be part of one big family and are comfortable living together and sharing the love of their partner.

In terms of punishment, the penalty for bigamy has several differences. If the bigamist remarries another for financial gain at a time when he or she is still legally married to the original spouse, then the crime is more serious and the punishment will be severe. The bigamist who tends to remarry when his or her previous divorce is not even finalized yet will serve a milder punishment.


1.Bigamy is treated as a crime and is a term used in a court of law.
2.Polygamy is a religious practice (like among Muslims).
3.Bigamy is having two marriages with the additional marriage coming after the first when divorce has not yet been finalized for the original marriage.
4.Polygamy is having many spouses at the same time.
5.Bigamy is usually having two spouses not knowing of each other’s existence and they don’t belong to the same household.
6.Polygamy involves many spouses who know of each others’ existence or role and are under one household.

Sharing is caring!

Search DifferenceBetween.net :

Email This Post Email This Post : If you like this article or our site. Please spread the word. Share it with your friends/family.


  1. This is not entirely true if you live in Texas. In Texas if someone has a legal marriage and then a ceremonial one to another person they are committing bigamy. (Review Neilson FDLS case file). The devil is in the details, if a party holds out to others that they are married and they live together they are common law married even without filing official forms. Basically, in Texas polygamy is bigamy if anyone involved is legally married.

    • Given that basis, then any two or more individuals living together would have become married under common law marriage and thus would have forced people not intending marriage to be in illegal polygamous, same sex (illegal at the time of the writing I would guess by context), and incestious marriages.

  2. i married a man 2001 in usa. then after 14 years i found out that he commited 2 another marraiges before me in the philippines. I filled annulment to this guy. will i be granted annulment?

  3. How is polygamy illegal when all parties are in agreement and happy but it’s legal to have many “baby mommas” and they dont know of each other?

  4. (To people who write articles: Please do your research so someone with severe OCD seemingly isn’t the only one who knows how to use the internet and do research using multiple sources to fill in the gaps of people whose literal jobs are to write articles).

    * Please keep in mind that one woman and one man marriages or dating relationships will not automatically be happy/loving/safe/gentle/healthy just because it is one man and one woman. Any relationship can be harmful. *

    Polygamy (“poly” means “many”) is not a religious practice. It is just a form of marriage. Historically, it was done long before religion was ever a thing. Polygamy does not have anything to do with Mormons, Christians, Muslims, or any other religion. It only often shows up in those religions because of the “be fruitful and multiply” line + sexism and that’s why polygyny is the one that shows up most often in religions. Polygamy in and of itself is NOT religious. ANYBODY CAN AND HAS BEEN DOING IT, atheists can and have been doing it since you know, atheists can marry too and it doesn’t have to be religious, spiritualists can and have been doing it – it does not matter who you are.
    Polygamy is marrying more than one person and all of those people are aware of each other, accepting of each other, and everybody agrees to it. Everybody is fine with it. Everybody consents and is accepting of the decision. Communication and honesty are two of the keys to a successful polygamous marriage. People in polygamous marriages live as close as possible to one another if they can help it. This can be in the same house or adjoining houses such as triplexes or large houses, or at least live next door to each other. Finally, everybody in a polygamous marriage does NOT need to be married to and having sex with each other. It happens, it just is not NEEDED. They do need at least one person to link them all together i.e. all married to the same person or people. All of what I’ve typed for polygamy extends to any form of polygamy.

    Polyandry is one form of polygamy where one woman marries at least two men.

    Polygyny is another form of polygamy where one man marries at least two women.

    Group marriage is at least two men and two women living together, but not necessarily marrying. It is confusing and there is some overlap between group marriage and polygamy. However, group marriage seems more common-law. This means 2 women marrying/living with 3 men, 5 men marrying/living with 3 women, or any other combination, but it involves multiple women and multiple men. Again, everybody is aware of everything that goes on and accepts it.

    Adultery is having sex with someone who is not the person(s) you married and it is in secret. This is under the umbrella word of “cheating”. It’s a secret, it’s a lie, and it’s cruel to do to people.

    Bigamy is marrying someone while already being married to someone else and it is in secret. This is under the umbrella word of “cheating”. It is a lie, it is cruel to do to someone.

    Bigamy is what this movie is doing, not polygamy.

    Polyamory is dating and/or having sex with more than one person. Everybody is aware of everything going on and accepts it.
    —- ——- —- —— — —— — ——— — ———— — –
    And just because I know there’s the possibility of someone reading this and getting confused because of the similar sounding/looking words, here are other important definitions (please remember trans men are men, and trans women are women):

    Bisexual (“bi” is greek for “two”) is being sexually attracted to two genders AT MINIMUM. There is a minimum to how many genders they are sexually attracted to. This means any two genders. Agender and female. Genderfluid and genderqueer. They can also be attracted to more than two genders. Gender matters to a bisexual person, but that does not mean they will be attracted to YOU specifically. People are more than just their gender – it includes things such as literally any other reason you can come up with about why you do or don’t crush on someone (personality, voice, etc.).

    Polysexual (comes from “polus” is greek for “many”) is being sexually attracted to many genders, but NOT every gender. This can mean agender, genderqueer, male, female, but not genderfluid people. This can mean only being attracted to agender, genderqueer, and genderfluid people, but not males or females. Any gender, but not all. Multiple, but not every gender. Gender matters to a polysexual person. They are sexually attracted to many genders (and it’s always going to be more than two). Again, this does NOT mean they will want to be with you specifically. Is every girl attracted to every boy? NO! More than just gender goes into being attracted to somebody.

    Pansexual (“pan” is greek for “all” or “every”) is all. It means being sexually attracted to a person DESPITE any kind of gender presentation. Basically, gender does NOT matter to a pansexual person. (Yes, this is confusing. “Pan means all” makes it sound like they are attracted to all genders even though gender does not matter to them.) They like the person, not the gender. Again. This does not mean YOU specifically.

    Omnisexual (comes from “omnis” is latin for “all”) is literally being sexually attracted to every gender out there. They love them all. Gender matters to an omnisexual person. They often feel a difference between genders. Some omnisexual people might like a gender more than another gender and some of them feel no preference. And again. This does not. Mean. They want. YOU specifically. They just. Like your gender.

    • Thats absolutely way too long to read. Ridiculously. I kinda skimmed until I read your opinion that polygamy is loving and everyone is happy and they choose it. Blah blah blah. Bs. It’s not loving, not every one happy (I’d argue no one is happy) and no. The dozens of children do not choose to be abused. There is no way you can seriously think this many children are not neglected. Neglect is child abuse. Call any child protective agency, neglect is abuse. I couldn’t even skim past that part. Bc its completely illogical to think polygamy is anything other that an abusive mess. SMH. It’s not a loving happy situation.

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Articles on DifferenceBetween.net are general information, and are not intended to substitute for professional advice. The information is "AS IS", "WITH ALL FAULTS". User assumes all risk of use, damage, or injury. You agree that we have no liability for any damages.

See more about : ,
Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Finder