[ wahyf ]
See synonyms for: wifewiveswifeless on Thesaurus.com

noun,plural wives [wahyvz]. /waɪvz/.
  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.

Idioms about wife

  1. take to wife, to marry (a particular woman): He took an heiress to wife.

Origin of wife

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

Other words from wife

  • wifedom, noun
  • wifeless, adjective
  • wife·less·ness, noun

Other definitions for -wife (2 of 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.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use wife in a sentence

  • On his marriage he was compelled to give up playing in public, on account of the objections raised by his wifes relations.

  • Concern for her physical welfare touched his wifes vanity and appealed to her heart.

    Those Dale Girls | Frank Weston Carruth
  • For his wifes and childrens sake he is sorely tempted to commit fraud, to tell falsehoods, and obtain illicit gains.

  • During his absence, his wifes maid introduces the lover into her mistress chamber while Amelia sleeps.

    The Fatal Dowry | Philip Massinger
  • On the second floor was a little salon which gave into his wifes bedroom, from which it formed the only exit.

    The Woman Gives | Owen Johnson

British Dictionary definitions for wife


/ (waɪf) /

nounplural wives (waɪvz)
  1. a man's partner in marriage; a married woman: Related adjective: uxorial

  2. an archaic or dialect word for woman

  1. take to wife to marry (a woman)

Origin of wife

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

Derived forms of wife

  • wifehood, noun
  • wifeless, adjective
  • wifelike, adjective
  • wifeliness, noun
  • wifely, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with wife


see under wives.

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