A·dul·ter·y n.; pl. Adulteries
1. The unfaithfulness of a married person to the marriage bed; sexual intercourse by a married man with another than his wife, or voluntary sexual intercourse by a married woman with another than her husband.
Note: ☞ It is adultery on the part of the married wrongdoer.
The word has also been used to characterize the act of an unmarried participator, the other being married. In the United States the definition varies with the local statutes. Unlawful intercourse between two married persons is sometimes called double adultery; between a married and an unmarried person, single adultery.
2. Adulteration; corruption. [Obs.]
3. Script. (a) Lewdness or unchastity of thought as well as act, as forbidden by the seventh commandment. (b) Faithlessness in religion.
4. Old Law The fine and penalty imposed for the offense of adultery.
5. Eccl. The intrusion of a person into a bishopric during the life of the bishop.
6. Injury; degradation; ruin. [Obs.]
You might wrest the caduceus out of my hand to the adultery and spoil of nature. --B. Jonson.
n : extramarital sex that willfully and maliciously interferes
with marriage relations; "adultery is often cited as
grounds for divorce" [syn: criminal conversation, fornication]
conjugal infidelity. An adulterer was a man who had illicit
intercourse with a married or a betrothed woman, and such a
woman was an adulteress. Intercourse between a married man and
an unmarried woman was fornication. Adultery was regarded as a
great social wrong, as well as a great sin.
The Mosaic law (Num. 5:11-31) prescribed that the suspected
wife should be tried by the ordeal of the "water of jealousy."
There is, however, no recorded instance of the application of
this law. In subsequent times the Rabbis made various
regulations with the view of discovering the guilty party, and
of bringing about a divorce. It has been inferred from John
8:1-11 that this sin became very common during the age preceding
the destruction of Jerusalem.
Idolatry, covetousness, and apostasy are spoken of as adultery
spiritually (Jer. 3:6, 8, 9; Ezek. 16:32; Hos. 1:2:3; Rev.
2:22). An apostate church is an adulteress (Isa. 1:21; Ezek.
23:4, 7, 37), and the Jews are styled "an adulterous generation"
(Matt. 12:39). (Comp. Rev. 12.)