When people practices polyamory, they create a new kind of relationship. These relationships are dependent on the type of relationship they have formed. Regardless of what type of relationship you form, they form a polycule.
Polycule is a fairly new word. It is the description of how a polyamorous relationships can be viewed if they are put into a picture form. Let us look at some examples.
When you form a "V", you are forming a relationship that has a central pivot point. Cleo, Betty, and Dorian are in a relationship. Cleo and Dorian have a romantic relationship. Cleo and Betty are also in a romantic relationship, but Betty and Dorian don't have a romantic relationship. They may be friends, but they are not romantically involved. The pivot point is Cleo.
In a triad, the three partners in the relationship may be romantically involved. There is no pivot point. Adrian, Diana and Karen are in a relationship. All three are romantically involved.
A quad involves four people. All four people may be romantically involved.
All of these relationships can be in any combinations of males or females. As you add more, the type of relationship can change as well depending on whether everyone is involved romantically or not. All of these combinations fall under the title polycule. The name plays off the image created when the relationships are visually linked. Just as atoms create molecules, people create polycules.
The polycule created is unique to the people involved.
*Thanks to Violet Michelle Smith for images and a great article concerning polycules. http://www.lifeontheswingset.com/8582/what-do-you-call-it-some-polyamory-network-terminology/