di-gê-mi • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: Marriage to a second spouse after being widowed by or divorcing the first, marriage to two spouses in succession, deuterogamy.
Notes: For a traditionally monogamous society like ours, it is rather odd that so many words exist for alternatives to monogamy. Marriage to two spouses simultaneously is bigamy, while digamy (or deuterogamy) is marriage to two spouses in succession. Having several spouses simultaneously is polygamy and, if you wish to be specific, polygyny is having several wives while polyandry is having several husbands. The adjective for today's noun is digamous, which rhymes with bigamous.
In Play: Some people adapt to digamy better than others: "Celia Faite's second husband has convinced her of the benefits of digamy." Digamy has become far more common in the US since the legalization of divorce in the 60s: "The people around me are becoming digamous so fast it is difficult to say that some of them are not bigamous along the way."
Word History: Today's word comes to us from Greek digamia "marriage twice" based on di- "twice" + gamos "marriage." Gamos is related to a few other words such as gamete "mature sperm or egg cell capable of joining and reproducing." Now, the synonym of today's Good Word, deuterogamy, comes from Greek deuteros "second" + gamos. I know what you are thinking: Why is the fifth book of the Old Testament called Deuteronomy? Deuteronomy comes from Greek deuteronomion "second law" from deuteros "second" + nom- "law", so named because this book of the Old Testament repeats the laws of Moses, first mentioned in the book of Exodus.
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