Adultery is defined as sexual relations between a married person and someone who's not his/her spouse. As Webster 1913 points out, when neither party is married to anyone, the deed is instead called "fornication".

This is rarely an important distiction, except when arguing about the Bible and the morality of premarital sex. And even then you'd better make sure you have the most accurate translation available.

For`ni*ca"tion (?), n. [F. fornication, L. fornicatio.]


Unlawful sexual intercourse on the part of an unmarried person; the act of such illicit sexual intercourse between a man and a woman as does not by law amount to adultery.

⇒ In England, the offense, though cognizable in the ecclesiastical courts, was not at common law subject to secular prosecution. In the United States it is indictable in some States at common law, in others only by statute.


2. Script. (a)







© Webster 1913.

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