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a name of the person when a husband cheats his wife on

Discussion in 'English Only' started by piotr1980, Apr 27, 2007.

  1. piotr1980 Senior Member

    Polish
    Hello,

    What do you call the person when a husband cheats his wife on?

    The husband has a wife but meets another woman at the same time.

    Many thanks
    Piotr
     
  2. fragbert

    fragbert Junior Member

    Shrewsbury, UK
    UK, British English
    Hi Piotr,
    The more or less formal word is 'mistress'. There are other less formal terms like 'bit on the side'. The term 'lover' may be used, but this only works if we already know he is married. What is the context; perhaps I can select the best word.
    Cheers, frag
     
  3. Musical Chairs Senior Member

    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    If the wife ever found out, she may say that she found that she was "the other woman."

    I don't know what the person he is having an affair with would be called though.
     
  4. Enfermero de la Escuela Junior Member

    Virginia
    English USA
    The woman with whom the husband cheats is a mistress, or "the other woman." The cheating husband is a Philanderer.
     
  5. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    A man who cheats on his wife is an "adulterer".

    A woman who cheats on her husband is an "adulteress".

    An adulterer commits adultery with his "mistress", or "lover", or "paramour" or "girlfriend".

    An adulteress commits adultery with her "lover" or "paramour" or "boyfriend"; in this case "master" is NOT the male equivalent of "mistress", and it is NOT used to refer to the man whom the woman is seeing.
     
  6. Marty10001 Senior Member

    Dublin
    Ireland/English
    And the man whose wife is a cheat is a "cockold"
     
  7. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English

    These are Webster's 3rd International meanings.

    In the 2nd International (and traditional, biblical context) a woman commits adultery. Men do not.

    A married man that has sex with another woman (other than his wife) is not committing adultery.

    A woman having sex with a married man or having sex while married is committing adultery.

    Modern usage does not carry that meaning, but it is a useful distinction when reading about biblical events.
     
  8. Enfermero de la Escuela Junior Member

    Virginia
    English USA
    "Paramour" is good. "Lover" and "girlfriend" don't exclusively deal with infidelity. "Cockold" must be exclusive to my Irish brethren, I've never heard it in the States.
     
  9. fragbert

    fragbert Junior Member

    Shrewsbury, UK
    UK, British English
    No offence Marty, but I have only come across the spelling 'cuckold'; the word has the same root as the bird, a cuckoo apparently.

    Girlfriend, lover and paramour are all good words that would work in context, but they do not presume any adultery in the way 'mistress' does. A single man may have any of the first three, but not a mistress in this sense. He may of course have a mistress if he is a domestic employee or slave, but the word would hardly be used in this context today.

    Cheers, Frag

    Cuckold (noun and verb and cuckoldry too) were used throughout the UK, but they are very outmoded now. Sort of thing one finds in 19th century romantic fiction (if one reads that kind of thing, I mean!)
    Frag
     
  10. Marty10001 Senior Member

    Dublin
    Ireland/English
    Sorry, but this is a typo - but a bit Freudian when I see how I spelled it.
     
  11. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    My Webster's "New International" (published in 1928) says that adultery is unfaithfulness to the marriage bed by one -- either a man or a woman -- who is married to another. The question of whether the adultery of a married man with an unmarried woman is a crime is an entirely separate matter. Certainly, when the Bible gives the commandment "Thou shalt not commit adultery", this is a commandment that is to be observed by both sexes. It would be absurd to say that there are only nine Commandments for men, but ten for women, because a man cannot commit adultery! It is precisely because men can commit adultery that one reads, for example, in Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

    Thus, neither an older dictionary definition nor the Bible supports the statement that in a traditional understanding of the word, "women commit adultery, men do not." To invent such an incorrect distinction would therefore not in fact be useful.
     
  12. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I stand by my statement. I will consult with a biblical scholar friend of mine for some citations. I will see if I can locate a copy of Webster's 2nd.

    This issue came up a few years back when a TV movie came out (I can't remember which right now) and I questioned my friend why the man was not punished. And he said, "Throw out your new dictionary and look in your old one." And so I did. The distinction I pointed out was there. I don't doubt that there are some inconsistencies within the Bible; it was written by multiple authors.

    I never said that this distinction holds true today. It was a distinction many years ago, however, and it is worth having in the back of your mind while reading some older documents.

    I do not invent these things. If there is an error to point out then feel free to do so. Saying that someone invents these things "would therefore not in fact be useful."
     
  13. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    It might have been a traditional interpretation of some kind, but biblically, it's clear that adultery is as much an act of males as of females. Note the "he" references below:

    "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death" (Lev. 20:10).

    "But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul." (Proverbs 6:32)

    "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery'; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. 5:27-28)."
     
  14. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I recall having read complex definitions of the old testament concept of what is translated as adultery, but I don't recall the definitions.

    That is not particularly relevant either to this topic or to the definition of the English word adultery - which is, essentially, a "violation of the marriage bed; voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with someone of the opposite sex either unmarried or married to another." (OED)

    My vague memory is something like this:
    Married woman + married man = both commit XXXXXX.
    Married woman + unmarried man = both commit XXXXXX.
    Married man + married woman = both commit XXXXXX.
    Married man + unmarried woman = neither commits XXXXXX - or perhaps only the woman commits XXXXXX.
    (In the above, the married man and the married woman are not married to one another.)
    The original concept of XXXXXX has been translated as adultery.

    But to reiterate, this inconsistency is a problem of inadequate translation, not a definition of the English word adultery (see above) which is the correct term for any of the above interactions.
     
  15. kirsitn

    kirsitn Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norway, Norwegian
    So having sex with someone of the same sex (while being married to someone else) is not considered adultery?
     
  16. zazap Senior Member

    Valencia
    Canada, French and English
    Apparently not (at least according to OED). Woohoo!;)
     
  17. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    Oman
    English (USA)
    panj, you have to be married to be committing adultery. Thus your last point isn't right -- married man + unmarried woman -- the man is committing adultery (cheating; unfaithfulness to the wife -- and Biblically speaking, that's a metaphor for unfaithfulness to God); the woman is just fucking, or fornicating, or whatever you want to say.
     
  18. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    Oman
    English (USA)
    Among liberal/tolerant people it would range from acceptable to adulterous. Among fundamentalists that would probably be an "abomination."
     
  19. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It takes two to tango.
    It is the combined act that is adultery - the English definition according to the OED. Thus both the married man and the unmarried woman are committing adultery.

    Speaking instead of the XXXXXX that is the Biblical act translated imperfectly as adultery, I pass.
    A cursory search reveals a variety of interpretations. As biblical scholars seem to be arguing incessantly about this point, it would be somewhat frivolous for us to do the same - and in any case that is a matter of interpretation of another language, not English.
     
  20. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    Oman
    English (USA)
     
  21. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    Returning now to the original topic of this thread,"homewrecker" is another term for the woman.
     
  22. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    Oman
    English (USA)
    homewrecker, ya
     
  23. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I am no expert on adultery.
    My understanding is based entirely on logic, supported by the OED.
    The only absolute definition is of adultery.
    Adulterer is one who commits adultery.
    Adulteress is one who commits adultery.

    Adultery is defined as a "violation of the marriage bed; voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with someone of the opposite sex either unmarried or married to another." (OED)
    The critical point is that it is the act that is important, not the status of the participant. For the act to be adultery, one party must be married. If the act is adultery, both participants have committed adultery.
     
  24. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    Oman
    English (USA)
    Pongo you know I almost always defer to you, and I thought I had no more to say on this, but ... now that you give the OED precise definition again, I have to wonder: Would it be wrong to say that it actually finally points to the married person?

    ... 1) "violation of the marriage bed", point one; and

    ... 2) it speaks of the sex of the married person with ... (someone else) ... it doesn't speak of the voluntary sexual act of anyone else with a married person.

    You can say "Yes" and that's fine, I'll go away! :) but I still am rather convinced that it's not just the act, but actually the specific violation on the part of the one who belongs in the marriage bed only.

    I would be happy to say "They were committing adultery."
    But speaking of the unmarried woman, I wouldn't say "She was committing adultery." Would you? Wouldn't you think she was married if someone said "She committed adultery yesterday?"
     
  25. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    More muddle for Coiffe and Panj to resolve:

    Fred (not his real name) is married to Mrs. Fred.
    Rhoda (Ms. Dendron to those not on a first name basis) is his extramarital lover.

    They have a sexual relationship, which is adulterous, because Fred is legally joined to Mrs. Fred.
    I think we all agree that Fred is an adulterer, per the terms and conditions prescribed by the OED definition.

    Can Rhoda be a party to an adulterous relationship, or an act of adultery, without being an adulteress?

    I do not know.

    Chew on this while formulating a reply: Can one be a member of a conspiracy without being a conspirator?
     
  26. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Coiffe: You ask a very reasonable question, and I really don't know the answer.

    I don't know about you, but I have never used the word adultery in any social context. I have no detailed analytical context to apply to this word, only what I have read in the past few hours.

    My general cultural context is related to the use of adultery in the context of it's being grounds for divorce. In that context, at least one of the pair is married (obviously). Whether the other party is married or not is completely irrelevant.
     
  27. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    Oman
    English (USA)
    Leave it to Cuchu to pile the pressure on!

    If I say, "She committed adultery yesterday," I could expect the following dialogue between two people:

    "She commited adultery yesterday."
    "No she didn't -- she's not the married one."
    "Okay, but technically she committed adultery, because he's married."
    "That's true."

    This sounds very plausible to me, and therefore I'd think there is a slight distinction that the big crime is on the shoulders of the married one.

    I suppose being an American makes me part of the conspiracy to crusade against Islamic people; or part of the previous conspiracy to exterminate 20 million native American Indians. But ... I don't like or accept collective guilt so easily ...

    Googling the topic brings up a lot of references to unequal punishments in various religious contexts ...

    I know how to solve this dilemma. Who's an expert on The Scarlet Letter?
     
  28. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    Oman
    English (USA)
    Okay, no takers on Hawthorne. So I'll add my two cents and go away. I'm no expert on The Scarlet Letter, but as I recall, Hester Prynne thought her husband was dead and had sex (and a child) with preacher Dimmesdale -- both unmarried (although her husband was not actually dead). Then the town branded her an "A" for adultery and she went forward from there, henceforth wearing the "A".

    Maybe this is a dead end ... maybe it only gives us a sense of the word "adultery" in a more religious context.

    Alll right ... enuff said.

    Adultery is two people acting like adults.
     
  29. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    Concerning the word 'cuckold', I thought a man was only a cuckold when he knows of his wife's infidelity, yet condones the behavior -- be it out of weakness or whatever reason. Regardless, it is a word that is rarely used, if ever.

    Anyway, there is a long thread here dealing with this subject which might be of interest.
     
  30. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English

    Well, I met up with my friend George, the Talmudic Scholar and put this question before him.

    I also looked for and failed to find a copy of Webster's 2nd International Dictionary as I had given away my copy to a friend, and the local library did not have a copy. But as you will see that will prove irrelevant.

    But George's response is more important. First, he found fault with both me and the others for our faulty research. "Packard, my friend," he said, "you sought clarification of a legal matter in a dictionary? Not smart."
    He went on, "Dictionaries are for defining words, not for judicial matters."

    So here is the dope: Current Orthodox Jewish law, which was handed down from the times of the Old Testament finds the following:

    A married woman has sex with any man other than her husband. Guilty. An Adulteress.

    A single woman has sex with a married man. Guilty. An Adulteress.

    A single woman has sex with a single man. Not guilty, just promiscuous.

    A married man has sex with a married woman. Guilty. An adulterer. (Here, I was wrong).

    A married man has sex with a single woman. Not guilty. Not an adulterer. (Here I was right, others were wrong.)


    George was right, of course, in pointing out that we sought answers in the wrong reference books. (He is usually right; he has all the credentials: A long, gray beard, payas, yarmulke, a tallis, and a slow, deliberate way of speaking).

    I since then Googled: "Talmudic Law, Adultery" and I found many references that confirm what George said. Take a look yourself.

    P.S.: I wish I had never given away the 2nd International; but she was pretty, an English teacher and I hadn't looked at it for some time.
     
  31. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Different strokes...

    The Catholic Encyclopedia defines it like this:

    That source adds a complication we have happily overlooked:


    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01163a.htm

    As your friend has counseled us to abandon dictionaries and look for legal sources, I did just that:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62581-2004Sep4.html

    May we please return to lexicographic sources now?
     
  32. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    Yes, I took a look at the New Advent Encyclopedia. They were more inclusive and listed several definitions including:

    "In the Mosaic Law, as in the old Roman Law, adultery meant only the carnal intercourse of a wife with a man who was not her lawful husband. The intercourse of a married man with a single woman was not accounted adultery, but fornication. The penal statute on the subject, in Leviticus 20:10, makes this clear: "If any man commit adultery with the wife of another and defile his neighbor's wife let them be put to death both the adulterer and the adulteress." (See also Deuteronomy 22:22) This was quite in keeping with the prevailing practice of polygamy among the Israelites. In the Christian law this discrimination against the wife is emphatically repudiated. In the law of Jesus Christ regarding marriage the unfaithful husband loses his ancient immunity (Matthew 19:3-13)."

    My point in bring this up in the first place is that people should be aware that there are more than one definition for "Adultery" and you have to consider the context of the word in order to determine the meaning of the word. In some movies, for instance, on characters from the Old Testament, the knowledge that a different meaning to "adultery" was prevailing would help with the understanding of the film.

    George's point was that "Adultery" is a legal term and the documents to support that should be legal ones and not dictionaries and encyclopedias.
     
  33. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    Oman
    English (USA)
    Confirming, once again, that Talmudic Law is just as sexist as Saul of Tarsus ever was, and therefore, in my world, just as finally irrelevant in terms of an ethical model one might ever believe in.
     
  34. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    You're missing a possible combination - single man with married woman. As I read the passage from Leviticus, the man is an adulterer if he has sex with a married woman regardless of his status. Otherwise, why would the passage include the word "adulterer"?

    "If any man commit adultery with the wife of another and defile his neighbor's wife let them be put to death both the adulterer and the adulteress."

    I'd be interested in hearing your friend's opinion on this, Packard.
     
  35. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English

    Ah, but this is a Language website and not an Ethics website. Our thoughts on the ethics is absolutely immaterial to this discussion. We we are concerning ourselves with is the meaning of the word "Adultery". That is means different things in different cultures is something writers and speakers need to be aware of. Your thoughts on the ethics are irrelevant and should not be a part of this discussion.
     
  36. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English

    That was my omission. You are correct on that. The man and the woman would be Guilty and both would be adulterers.
     
  37. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    Oman
    English (USA)
    I absolutely agree with you but sometimes the naked emperor impels me to articulate irrelevant points.
     

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