- a North American fish, Alosa pseudoharengus, resembling a small shad.
Origin of alewife1
1625–35, Americanism; earlier allowes, perhaps influenced by alewife2, probably < French alose shad < Gallo-Latin alausa
- a woman who owns or operates an alehouse.
Origin of alewife2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for alewife
There be espiers set in every lane and the highway, said the alewife.
Joan (passim), a generic name for an alewife, strumpet, and the like: see Doctour Double Ale and next entry.
Calote had caught the withered bough when it fell, and made off with it under the alewife's very nose.
They went into the tavern and the alewife set her best brew before them, and presently slipped out to seek her gossips.
Bunch (Mother), an alewife, mentioned by Dekker in his drama called Satiromastix .Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama, Vol 1
The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D.
- a North American fish, Pomolobus pseudoharengus, similar to the herring Clupea harengus: family Clupeidae (herrings)
C19: perhaps an alteration (through influence of alewife, that is, a large rotund woman, alluding to the fish's shape) of French alose shad
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
Word Origin and History for alewife
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper