Definition of endogamy in English:



mass noun
  • 1Anthropology
    The custom of marrying only within the limits of a local community, clan, or tribe.

    • ‘In recent years, community and regional endogamy have declined.’
    • ‘Though marriage outside the ethnic group was tolerated, these people practiced a high rate of endogamy, which strengthened family and community bonds.’
    • ‘The tribe often encourage endogamy out of the belief that it will help keep the tribal identity from being lost.’
    • ‘While not all practice cousin endogamy or engage in arranged marriages, most demonstrate a strong preference for religious endogamy in the selection of marriage partners.’
    • ‘Social status was ascribed and sustained by class endogamy.’
  • 2Biology
    The fusion of reproductive cells from related individuals; inbreeding; self-pollination.

    ‘In alfalfa and maize, seed production was shown to be severely depressed by endogamy.’
    ‘This, in plant species, can buffer against genetic erosion resulting from processes of endogamy and genetic drift.’


Mid 19th century from endo-‘within’ + Greek gamos ‘marriage’, on the pattern of polygamy.