Is there any difference between the terms 'fornication' and adultery' if we see the two terms? Is there marital status involved differentiating the two terms?

From Wiktionary

Fornication Sexual intercourse, especially on the part of an unmarried person.

(law) The act of such illicit sexual intercourse between a man and a woman which does not by law amount to adultery.

Adultery Sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than their spouse.

[and several other older meanings]

closed as off-topic by user3169, Nathan Tuggy, Varun Nair, James K, ColleenV Mar 23 '18 at 14:45

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  • Which dictionary did you use. Please show us that you have used a dictionary and then ask about what you don't understand in the dictionary defintion. – James K Mar 21 '18 at 19:28
  • Not everything you find explained in a dictionary, do you? Let me put an example of the word 'shun' here... do we find the detail that it was invented by Shakespeare, used in Under the Greenwood Tree and now it is outdated? Of course, not. Writing of experienced and frequent users weigh much to one when they ask a question, I mean people like me. I know a lot about English but when it comes to talk about cultural use or usage I need to consult people living in that region. – Zeeshan Siddiqii Mar 22 '18 at 9:28
  • 1
    When you ask the meaning of a word we expect you do some basic research first. That means consulting a dictionary. Now, these word, as it happens, have similar meanings but different nuance, and there is a good question here. But you haven't asked a good question because you haven't demonstrated that you have done that basic research. I have no idea what you are saying about "shun". Its from Old English, long before Shakespeare, and not outdated now. If you want to ask about cultural use, you need to put that in the question, not in a comment. I suggest you edit to add the context. – James K Mar 22 '18 at 15:38
  • I did see these in dictionary, Oxford and then on Wiki I made research... I was a little confused so I asked a question here... as for shun, I don't hear this from any native now, maybe you are one of those who still use this. Even in new additions of books I don't see this word. Let me submit humbly, my research and knowledge are weak. – Zeeshan Siddiqii Apr 4 '18 at 8:18
  • Please click the edit link. You need to copy the definitions that you use (I've done this for you) And then you need to explain what is unclear. Don't comment Use the edit link. – James K Apr 4 '18 at 8:48

Fornication is pejorative term for sex between two people who are not married to each other, as it implies the sinful pursuit of physical pleasure.

Adultery has various definitions depending on local convention, but most often refers to sex between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse, normally without the consent (or knowledge) of the spouse.

The terms overlap. Someone can be both a fornicator and an adulterer, as the first may be considered immoral, while the second can be considered both immoral and illegal (or, at least, may have legal consequences).

In some cultures, religions, and regions, the definition of adultery covers any sexual intercourse between unmarried persons, and in this case any separate accusation of fornication is redundant.

Final note: You would not accuse someone of fornication unless you strongly believe that premarital (or extramarital) sex is sinful, as the term has religious overtones. If instead you feel someone engages in gratuitous sex, or is overly careless with their affections, there are various other expressions which fit better.

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