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View synonyms for wife

wife

1

[ wahyf ]

noun

, plural wives [wahyvz].
  1. a married woman, especially when considered in relation to her partner in marriage.
  2. a woman ( archaic or dial., except in idioms):

    old wives' tale.



verb (used with or without object)

, wifed, wif·ing.
  1. Rare. wive.

-wife

2
  1. a combining form of wife, now unproductive, occurring in compound words that in general designate traditional roles or occupations of women:

    fishwife; goodwife; housewife; midwife.

wife

/ waɪf /

noun

  1. a man's partner in marriage; a married woman uxorial
  2. See woman
    an archaic or dialect word for woman
  3. take to wife
    take to wife to marry (a woman)


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Derived Forms

  • ˈwifeliness, noun
  • ˈwifehood, noun
  • ˈwifely, adjective
  • ˈwifeless, adjective
  • ˈwifeˌlike, adjective

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Other Words From

  • wifedom noun
  • wifeless adjective
  • wifeless·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of wife1

before 900; Middle English, Old English wīf woman; cognate with Dutch wijf, German Weib, Old Norse vīf

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Word History and Origins

Origin of wife1

Old English wīf; related to Old Norse vīf (perhaps from vīfathr veiled), Old High German wīb (German Weib )

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Idioms and Phrases

Idioms
  1. take to wife, to marry (a particular woman):

    He took an heiress to wife.

More idioms and phrases containing wife

see under wives .

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Example Sentences

Number one, the wife of a venture capitalist is a multimillionaire.

From Fortune

Like any cash-poor landowner, Lister decides that she needs a rich wife and sets her sights on Ann Walker, a local heiress who’s been dazzled by Lister’s charisma for years.

I don’t think it’s something that most people are voluntarily doing or are interested in doing, but it took us a long time to track down the wives that we did, and we’re fairly confident that when the show drops, more will come out.

From Vox

The morning after we were evacuated, I left my wife, Jenny, and our two daughters, who are 15 and 17, in Santa Cruz and went back to my house in Bonny Doon with my friend Josh.

My wife and I understood and challenged our hidden biases when our children introduced us to friends who were different from them.

From Fortune

In straight relationships with an age gap, words like ‘gold-digger’ and ‘trophy wife’ get thrown around.

His wife passed away and they had kids, and he wanted to focus on being a dad so he just stopped to raise his kids.

The band was still on its way back as De Blasio and his wife departed.

Except for maybe his brainiac wife… but she could do better anyway.

So when my wife and I moved to Laurel Canyon I spent my first year working night and day on the show.

But Mrs. Dodd, the present vicar's wife, retained the precious prerogative of choosing the book to be read at the monthly Dorcas.

And that was that if he and his wife were to ever live together again and be happy, the family were to be kept out of it.

His wife stood smiling and waving, the boys shouting, as he disappeared in the old rockaway down the sandy road.

To Harrison and his wife there was no distinction between the executive and judicial branches of the law.

The Authorised Version has: “And as a mother shall she meet him, and receive him as a wife married of a virgin.”

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Related Words

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More About Wife

What is a basic definition of wife?

A wife is a married woman.

The word wife is often used when a woman’s marital status is important to the current topic. For example, a man might explain to a salesperson that he is  looking for a present for his wife, which is a lot more helpful than saying he is buying a gift for “a woman.”

The plural of wife is wives. A man who is married is called a husband. A woman whose marital partner has died is called a widow.

  • Real-life examples: Queen Isabella I of Castille was the wife of King Ferdinand II of Aragon. King Henry VIII infamously had six wives (but one at a time!). If you are married to a woman, then she is your wife.
  • Used in a sentence: My uncle has never been married and says he has no interest in finding a wife.  

Sometimes, a modifier is used with wife to be more specific about a woman’s marital partner.

  • Used in a sentence: The documentary explored the lives of prison wives.

Some married people prefer gender-neutral terms, such as spouse or partner. The choice is up to the people in the marriage.

Where does wife come from?

The first records of wife come from before the 900s. It comes from the Old English word wīf, meaning “woman.” It is related to the Dutch wijf, the German Weib, and the Old Norse vīf.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to wife?

  • wifedom (noun)
  • wifeless (adjective)
  • wifehood (noun)
  • wifelike (adjective)
  • wifely (adverb)

What are some synonyms for wife?

What are some words that share a root or word element with wife?

What are some words that often get used in discussing wife?

How is wife used in real life?

Wife is a very common word used to explain a woman’s relationship to her spouse.

Try using wife!

True or False?

The word wife is used to refer to a woman who is not married.

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Definitions and idiom definitions from Dictionary.com Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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

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