[kong-kyuh-bahyn, kon-] /ˈkɒŋ kyəˌbaɪn, ˈkɒn-/

a woman who cohabits with a man to whom she is not legally married, especially one regarded as socially or sexually subservient; mistress.
(among polygamous peoples) a secondary wife, usually of inferior rank.
(especially formerly in Muslim societies) a woman residing in a harem and kept, as by a sultan, for sexual purposes.
/ˈkɒŋkjʊˌbaɪn; ˈkɒn-/
(in polygamous societies) a secondary wife, usually of lower social rank
a woman who cohabits with a man

c.1300, from Latin concubina (fem.), from concumbere “to lie with, to lie together, to cohabit,” from com- “with” (see com-) + cubare “to lie down” (see cubicle). Recognized by law among polygamous peoples as “a secondary wife.”

in the Bible denotes a female conjugally united to a man, but in a relation inferior to that of a wife. Among the early Jews, from various causes, the difference between a wife and a concubine was less marked than it would be amongst us. The concubine was a wife of secondary rank. There are various laws recorded providing for their protection (Ex. 21:7; Deut. 21:10-14), and setting limits to the relation they sustained to the household to which they belonged (Gen. 21:14; 25:6). They had no authority in the family, nor could they share in the household government. The immediate cause of concubinage might be gathered from the conjugal histories of Abraham and Jacob (Gen. 16;30). But in process of time the custom of concubinage degenerated, and laws were made to restrain and regulate it (Ex. 21:7-9). Christianity has restored the sacred institution of marriage to its original character, and concubinage is ranked with the sins of fornication and adultery (Matt. 19:5-9; 1 Cor. 7:2).


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