What does Hypogamy mean?

When you marry a person who has less status than you, it’s called ‘Hypogamy’.

Hypogamy is a term that refers to a situation where a person chooses to marry someone who is of lower financial or social status than themselves. This term is the exact opposite of “hypergamy”, which implies marrying someone of higher social status.

The term has its roots in 19th century India, but it gained more attention in the late 2010s within the online dating scene. Hypogamy is more commonly seen when a woman marries a man of lower status, but it can also apply to men marrying down.

These kinds of relationships often make for interesting storylines in books, TV shows, and movies. A common scenario might involve a woman who, despite having several suitors of higher status, falls in love with someone who is less financially or socially appealing.

However, hypogamy is less common today as the societal structures that dictated such unions have largely disappeared. With the decline of systems resembling social castes, people no longer need to marry for survival or to secure a larger dowry, like the characters in a Jane Austen novel. Instead, individuals are free to marry for other reasons, such as love.

Example for using ‘Hypogamy’ in a conversation

Hey, did you watch that new movie?

Yeah, I did! It’s about hypogamy.

What’s hypogamy?

It’s when someone marries down, you know, like marrying someone of lower status.