[ hous-wahyf or, usually, huhz-if for 2 ]
/ ˈhaʊsˌwaɪf or, usually, ˈhʌz ɪf for 2 /

noun, plural house·wives [hous-wahyvz]. /ˈhaʊsˌwaɪvz/.

Sometimes Offensive. a married woman who manages her own household, especially as her principal occupation.
British. a sewing box; a small case or box for needles, thread, etc.

verb (used with or without object), house·wifed, house·wif·ing.

Archaic. to manage with efficiency and economy, as a household.



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Origin of housewife

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English hus(e)wif; see origin at house, wife

usage note for housewife

Most people, married or unmarried, find the term housewife perfectly acceptable. But it is sometimes perceived as insulting, perhaps because it implies a lowly status (“She’s just a housewife”) or because it defines an occupation in terms of a woman's relation to a man. Homemaker is a fairly common substitute. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for housewife

British Dictionary definitions for housewife

/ (ˈhaʊsˌwaɪf) /

noun plural -wives

a woman, typically a married woman, who keeps house, usually without having paid employment
Also called: hussy, huswife (ˈhʌzɪf) mainly British a small sewing kit issued to soldiers

Derived forms of housewife

housewifery (ˈhaʊsˌwɪfərɪ, -ˌwɪfrɪ), noun
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