- plural of wife.
- a married woman, especially when considered in relation to her partner in marriage.
- a woman (archaic or dial., except in idioms): old wives' tale.
- Rare. wive.
- take to wife, to marry (a particular woman): He took an heiress to wife.
Origin of wife
- to take a wife; marry.
- to take as wife; marry.
- to provide with a wife.
Origin of wive
Examples from the Web for wives
How many husbands, wives, sons, and daughters have we lost to a broken system?Dear Leelah, We Will Fight On For You: A Letter to a Dead Trans Teen
January 1, 2015
It was doubtless a warm reunion with his family, who are featured in The Cuban Wives.
The wives have been traveling for years across the globe to bring attention to the case.
These are men who now have wives and children, and their silence so many years later shows how morally bankrupt they remain.I Was Gang Raped at a UVA Frat 30 Years Ago, and No One Did Anything
December 16, 2014
So, everyone else is there with girlfriends and wives… And I brought my mom.The Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah Sounds Off on Weed, the Weather, and Winning
October 19, 2014
Then they will cease, and wives and mothers will come here to weep.Ballads of a Bohemian
Robert W. Service
All foreigners break their wives' hearts—Nelly's a sensible girl!The Bacillus of Beauty
Their wives and their womenkind generally, have no position but that of animals.The Story of the Malakand Field Force
Sir Winston S. Churchill
He lived in the edge of a forest; his people were many; he had forty wives, and the like.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
If this sort of thing was continued, no man's wives would be safe.
- the plural of wife
- to marry (a woman)
- (tr) to supply with a wife
- a man's partner in marriage; a married womanRelated adjective: uxorial
- an archaic or dialect word for woman
- take to wife to marry (a woman)
Word Origin and History for wives
"to marry (a woman)," Old English wifian, from wif "woman" (see wife). Cf. Middle Dutch wiven.
Old English wif "woman," from Proto-Germanic *wiban (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian wif, Old Norse vif, Danish and Swedish viv, Middle Dutch, Dutch wijf, Old High German wib, German Weib), of uncertain origin. Dutch wijf now means, in slang, "girl, babe," having softened somewhat from earlier sense of "bitch."
Some proposed PIE roots include *weip- "to twist, turn, wrap," perhaps with sense of "veiled person" (see vibrate); or *ghwibh-, a proposed root meaning "shame," also "pudenda," but the only examples of it are wife and Tocharian (a lost IE language of central Asia) kwipe, kip "female pudenda."
The modern sense of "female spouse" began as a specialized sense in Old English; the general sense of "woman" is preserved in midwife, old wives' tale, etc. Middle English sense of "mistress of a household" survives in housewife; and later restricted sense of "tradeswoman of humble rank" in fishwife. Wife-swapping is attested from 1954.
Idioms and Phrases with wives
see old wives' tale.
see under wives.