Home » Glossary » Dating Jargon » Hypergamy



[haɪˈpɜr gə mi]


Hypergamy is the act of marrying someone of greater social standing and/or wealth. The term is an Ancient Greek portmanteau of hyper (over) and gamy (marriage) and was first used in the late 1800s.

Historically, hypergamy referred specifically to intercaste marriages in Indian society; a person who married into a higher caste was considered hypergamous. Today, hypergamy is more associated with dating or marrying a person of a different economic class. A person from the middle class marrying a person from the upper class would be a type of hypergamic marriage.

Dating Up” is the act of hypergamy by a more modern name.


Molly, an attractive teacher, considers herself part of the middle class. Marcus, a successful lawyer, considers himself part of the upper-middle class. After Molly and Marcus began dating after meeting on Seeking, they’ve consistently enjoyed confusing their friends by saying that they practice hypergamy…just before explaining what hypergamy is.