- An old woman, later especially one who tells old wives' tales. [from 9th c.]
- 1902 January, John Buchan, “The Outgoing of the Tide”, in The Watcher by the Threshold, and Other Tales, Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood and Sons, published 1902, →OCLC, pages 230–231:
- Once John, being overtaken in drink on the roadside by the cottage, and dreaming that he was burning in hell, awoke and saw the old wife hobbling toward him. Thereupon he fled soberly to the hills, and from that day became a quiet-living, humble-minded Christian.
- Any of various marine fishes [from 16th c.]:
- Alternative form: oldwife
- the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus)
- A species of perciform fish endemic to the temperate coastal waters of Australia (Enoplosus armatus)
- Balistes vetula (Queen triggerfish)
- Certain spot-tail porgies (Diplodus ascensionis, Diplodus helenae)
- Spondyliosoma cantharus (black seabream)
- Trachinotus goodei (great pompano)
- A wrasse
- (Canada, US, now rare) The long-tailed duck, Clangula hyemalis. [from 17th c.]
- 1634, William Wood, “Of the Birds and Fowles both of Land and Water”, in New Englands Prospect. A True, Lively, and Experimentall Description of that Part of America, Commonly Called New England; […], London: […] Tho[mas] Cotes, for Iohn Bellamie, […], →OCLC, 1st part, page 31:
- The Oldvvives, be a foule that never leave tatling day or night, ſomething bigger than a Ducke.
- (Scotland) A chimney cap to prevent smoking. [from 19th c.]