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The practice of marrying into an equal or more prestigious social group or caste.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Anthropology & Ethnology) a custom that forbids a woman to marry a man of lower social status
2. (Anthropology & Ethnology) any marriage with a partner of higher social status
[C19: from hyper- + -gamy]
ˌhyperˈgamous adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(haɪˈpɜr gə mi)

marriage to a person of a social status higher than one's own; orig., esp. in India, the custom of allowing a woman to marry only into her own or a higher social group.
hy•per′ga•mous, adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Among the many services Carlson has rendered to his country is getting the concept of "hypergamy" into the bloodstream.
This is how the imperative rule of feminine hypergamy is justified in Ngazidja: the husband must be of the same or higher status than his wife and his wife's kin (although this hypergamy may favour gender hierarchy).
[8, 9] Historically, the practices of it in India were limited among the upper caste group, due to custom of hypergamy, and now, it is being practiced by the people of middle and low-middle income groups.
Isabella Thorpe clearly wishes to improve her status and access to resources by marrying a man superior to her in rank and fortune, a practice known in the social sciences as hypergamy (Barash and Barash 45).
Marriages within the khandan and biradri that would also allow for female hypergamy were preferred as they increased the social, if not economic, status of the family and strengthened the ties between families (22).
Asian women marrying white, Australian men are faced with the discourses of hypergamy (the marrying up of third-world women with first-world men), 'mail order brides', and the issue of remittances (Saroca 1997; Robinson 1996a, 2000).
Migrant women's experiences, therefore, should not be simply interpreted as the common tales of 'global (paradoxical) hypergamy' (Constable, 2005) where marriage migrants strive to marry into imagined desirable destinations but end up with decreased mobility and unfulfilled ambitions.
The common theme or motif that unites the plays is encompassed by the term hypergamy.
Importantly, marriage in China has conventionally involved "matching doors and windows" (mendang hudui), pairing individuals from families of similar social status, as well as women "marrying up," i.e., female hypergamy, choosing a spouse from a family of higher social status or greater wealth.
Brahman influence in Bengali society was enhanced from Sena times onward by a distinctly Bengali system of hypergamy in which high caste women married Kulin Brahman men who fathered children with multiple wives; this produced a multi-caste elite that included merchants, landowners, and administrators who flourished under later medieval regimes.
Hypergamy is the practice of seeking a spouse of higher socioeconomic status than oneself.