Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Adultery


Quick Summary of Adultery

Extra-marital sex between a male and female, at least one of whom is married to another person. In most countries, adultery is a legal ground for divorce.

What is the dictionary definition of Adultery?

Dictionary Definition

Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse.

  1. Sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than their spouse.
  2. Bible Lewdness or unchastity of thought as well as act, as forbidden by the seventh commandment.
  3. Bible Faithlessness in religion.

n. consensual sexual relations when one of the participants is legally married to another. In some states it is still a crime and and in many states it is grounds for divorce for the spouse of the married adulterer. The criminal charges are almost never brought, and in those states in which there is no-fault divorce (or dissolution), adultery is legally not relevant. Until the 1970s, in community property states adultery was grounds for giving the person cheated upon most of the couple’s property, often resulting in lurid and long trials and grist for scandal newspapers.

Full Definition of Adultery

Consensual sexual relations by a married person with someone other than his or her spouse. In many US states, adultery is technically a crime, though people are rarely prosecuted for it. In states that have retained fault grounds for divorce, adultery is always sufficient grounds for a divorce. In addition, some states alter the distribution of property between divorcing spouses in cases of adultery, giving less to the “cheating” spouse.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Adultery. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
January 26, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Adultery. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: January 26, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Adultery. Retrieved January 26, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Adultery are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 5th December, 2021 | 4 Views.