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better half

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noun
  1. a person's wife.
  2. a person's husband.

Origin of better half

First recorded in 1830–40
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for better half

Historical Examples

  • That you had a better-half somewhere, to which you belong when you are at home.

    Graham's Magazine Vol XXXII. No. 5. May 1848

    Various

  • He would have recognised the actress, however, if his better-half had allowed him to do so.

  • Count Ambrose and his better-half stayed in the castle; the good mother would never leave her nursling.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • When we left the house in the morning I saw Benry's better-half placing a few eggs in water to boil over the fire.

    Alone with the Hairy Ainu

    A. H. Savage Landor

  • They had wrangled all the thirty years they had been married; but Toine was good-humored, while his better-half grew angry.


British Dictionary definitions for better half

better half

noun
  1. jocular one's spouse
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with better half

better half

1

Also, better part. The larger amount or majority of something, as in I won't be long; the better half of this job is complete, or I have spent the better part of my life in this city. Sir Philip Sidney used the first term in Arcadia (1580): “I ... shall think the better half of it already achieved.” The variant appears in a well-known proverb, discretion is the better part of valor.

2

Also, my better half. One's (my) spouse, as in I'm not sure if we can go; I'll have to check with my better half. Originally this expression meant “a close friend or lover,” and by the 16th century it referred to either a wife or lover. Sidney used it in this way, again in Arcadia: “My dear, my better half (said he), I find I must now leave thee.” Today it tends to be used lightly for either husband or wife. “Late 1500s”

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.