What is the relation between the two wives of a man called?

  • Do you mean two wives that he is married to at the same time, or two wives, one of whom he is divorced from? It is uncommon (and usually illegal) in the US for a man to have more than one wife at a time.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Aug 19, 2011 at 16:01
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    Well Yes i mean two wives married to a same person, at the same time. Yes it is not common in America, but Mormons,Muslims etc practise such things, still.
    – aibk01
    Aug 19, 2011 at 16:09
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    FWIW - on Big Love, my source for all knowledge polygamous, they called each other "sister wives", which seemed to make sense. Aug 19, 2011 at 16:12
  • Yes i think your given word is also appropriate and is correct, i checked it online.
    – aibk01
    Aug 19, 2011 at 16:17
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    None taken,just wanted to educate you, as English has become a universal language, so it has also has evolved
    – aibk01
    Aug 19, 2011 at 18:43

4 Answers 4


According to this book, they are considered "co-wives."

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    @kpsfire: There's another source here
    – simchona
    Aug 19, 2011 at 21:46

Amongst polygamist American sects, apparently the term sister-wife is used when several women are married to the same man. These women are not actually sisters by blood, but more like sisters-in-law, and they refer to each other as sister-wives.

There’s even a “reality TV” program about one such plural family, named Sister Wives. From Wikipedia:

Sister Wives is an American reality television series broadcast on TLC that started in 2010. The show documents the life of a polygamist family, which includes patriarch Kody Brown, his four wives and their 17 children. The family began the series living in Lehi, Utah, but has since moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.


In the Old Testament, they are called rival wives (Leviticus 18:18, NIV). KJV uses a descriptive phrase "to vex her."

Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her... beside the other in her life time.

There is a description of the marriage between a man and two sisters: a sororate marriage. This word is close, but perhaps not exactly what you are looking for. If you called the relationship "sororate," you would probably be understood.

  • Well these two women are not sisters, i am talking generally.
    – aibk01
    Aug 19, 2011 at 16:11
  • Yes, agreed, sororate is not an exact fit for two women who are not sisters. I think there is an analogy by extension. Think of a man's sister-in-law's husband. Brother-in-law is not precisely the right word. But one could use brother-in-law to describe the person or the relationship, and be understood. I would propose that while sororate is not the precise word (if they are not sisters), describing them as sororate wives or rival wives would be understood by the reader (or hearer).
    – rajah9
    Aug 19, 2011 at 16:20

Fellow-wives or rival wives can also be used.

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