/bigamiy/ The criminal offense of willfully and knowingly contracting a second marriage (or going through the form of a second marriage) while the first marriage, to the knowledge of the offender, is still subsisting and undissolved. The state of a man who has two wives, or of a woman who has two husbands, living at the same time. A married person is guilty of bigamy, a misdemeanor, if he contracts or purports to contract another marriage, unless at the time of the subsequent marriage:
(a) the actor believes that the prior spouse is dead; or
(b) the actor and the prior spouse have been living apart for five consecutive years throughout which the prior spouse was not known by the actor to be alive; or
(c) a Court has entered a judgment purporting to terminate or annul any prior disqualifying marriage, and the actor does not know that judgment to be invalid; or
(d) the actor reasonably believes that he is legally eligible to remarry. Model Penal Code, No. 230.1.
In the canon law, the term denoted the offense committed by an ecclesiastic who married two wives successively. It might be committed either by marrying a second wife after the death of a first or by marrying a widow.
See also polygamy

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • bigamy — big·a·my / bi gə mē/ n [Medieval Latin bigamia, ultimately from Latin bi two + Greek gamos marriage]: the crime of marrying someone while still legally married to someone else compare polygamy big·a·mist / mist/ n Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of… …   Law dictionary

  • Bigamy — Big a*my, n. [OE. bigamie, fr. L. bigamus twice married; bis twice + Gr. ? marriage; prob. akin to Skt. j[=a]mis related, and L. gemini twins, the root meaning to bind, join: cf. F. bigamie. Cf. {Digamy}.] (Law) The offense of marrying one person …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bigamy — (n.) state of having two wives or husbands at the same time, mid 13c., from O.Fr. bigamie (13c.), from Church L. bigamia, from L.L. bigamus twice married, a hybrid from bi double (see BI (Cf. bi )) + Gk. gamos marrying (see GAMETE (Cf. gamete)).… …   Etymology dictionary

  • bigamy — ► NOUN ▪ the offence of marrying someone while already married to another person. DERIVATIVES bigamist noun bigamous adjective. ORIGIN Old French bigamie, from BI (Cf. ↑bi ) + Greek gamos married …   English terms dictionary

  • bigamy — [big′əmē] n. pl. bigamies [ME & OFr bigamie < LL bigamus < L bi , BI 1 + Gr gamos, marriage: see GAMO ] the act of marrying a second time while a previous marriage is still legally in effect: when done knowingly, it is a criminal offense …   English World dictionary

  • bigamy — n. to commit; practice bigamy * * * [ bɪgəmɪ] practice bigamy to commit …   Combinatory dictionary

  • bigamy — I (Roget s IV) n. Syn. polygamy, unlawful polygamy, plural marriage, real bigamy, interpretative bigamy; see also polygamy . II (Roget s 3 Superthesaurus) n. polygamy, group marriage …   English dictionary for students

  • bigamy — [[t]bɪ̱gəmi[/t]] N UNCOUNT Bigamy is the crime of marrying a person when you are already legally married to someone else …   English dictionary

  • bigamy — noun Etymology: Middle English bigamie, from Medieval Latin bigamia, from Latin bi + Late Latin gamia gamy Date: 13th century the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another • bigamist noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bigamy — /big euh mee/, n., pl. bigamies. 1. Law. the crime of marrying while one has a wife or husband still living, from whom no valid divorce has been effected. 2. Eccles. any violation of canon law concerning marital status that would disqualify a… …   Universalium

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