From Middle English wyf, wif, from Old English wīf (“woman, wife”), from Proto-West Germanic *wīb, from Proto-Germanic *wībą (“woman, wife”).
Germanic cognates include Scots wife (“wife”), West Frisian wiif (“wife, woman”), Saterland Frisian Wieuw (“woman, lady, female”), North Frisian wüf (“wife, woman”), Dutch wijf (“woman, female”), Low German Wief (“woman, female”), German Weib (“woman, wife, female”), Danish viv (“wife, woman”), Norwegian viv (“wife, woman, girl”), Swedish viv (“woman”), Faroese vív (“wife, woman”), Icelandic víf (“woman”).
The further etymology is unknown, with a number of disputed suggestions. One suggestion connects Tocharian A/B kip/kwīpe (“genitals, female pudenda”), for a hypothetical Indo-European *gʰwíbʰ- (“pudenda”). Another suggestion connects Old English wǣfan (“wrap, clothe”), Old Norse vífa (“wrap, veil”) for a suggested original motive of "married woman wearing a scarf".
Yet another suggestion connects Old High German weibon (“move to and fro”), Old Norse veifa (“swing, throw”), for a motive of "one who is moving busily; housekeeper, maidservant" (cf. German Weibel (“manservant, usher”)).
wife (plural wives)
- A married woman, especially in relation to her spouse.
- 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter X, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
- It was a joy to snatch some brief respite, and find himself in the rectory drawing–room. Listening here was as pleasant as talking; just to watch was pleasant. The young priests who lived here wore cassocks and birettas; their faces were fine and mild, yet really strong, like the rector's face; and in their intercourse with him and his wife they seemed to be brothers.
- 1952, P. G. Wodehouse, Big Business, in 'A Few Quick Ones', Everyman, London: 2009, p 127-8.
- All through Reginald's deeply moving performance she had sat breathless, her mind in a whirl and her soul stirred to her very depths. With each low note that he pulled up from the soles of his shoes she could feel the old affection and esteem surging back into her with a whoosh, and long before he had taken his sixth bow she knew ... that it would be madness to try to seek happiness elsewhere, particularly as the wife of a man with large ears and no chin, who looked as if he were about to start in the two-thirty race at Kempton Park.
- 2014 March 3, Zoe Alderton, “‘Snapewives’ and ‘Snapeism’: A Fiction-Based Religion within the Harry Potter Fandom”, in Religions, volume 5, number 1, MDPI, →DOI, pages 219-257:
- Despite personal schisms and differences in spiritual experience, there is a very coherent theology of Snape shared between the wives. To examine this manifestation of religious fandom, I will first discuss the canon scepticism and anti-Rowling sentiment that helps to contextualise the wider belief in Snape as a character who extends beyond book and film.
- The female of a pair of mated animals.
- A new wife for the gander is introduced into the pen.
- (Scotland) Synonym of woman.
Although mostly used only humorously, wife can be used with the to indicate one's own wife, as in "I'd like to go, but the wife wants me home".
- (married woman): little woman (slang)
- See also Thesaurus:wife
- aad wife
- blue star wife
- Caesar's wife
- Caesar's wife must be above suspicion
- country wife
- devil's beating his wife
- (from woman) alewife
- gold star wife
- husband and wife
- I now declare you man and wife
- oyster wife
- (partner) co-wife, cowife
- (partner) ex-wife, ex wife
- (partner) housewife
- (partner) huswife
- (partner) man and wife
- (partner) trophy wife
- (partner) wifebeater, wife-beater, wife beater
- (partner) wifeless
- (partner) wifey
- take a wife
- take to wife
- the world and his wife
- wife carrying
- wife selling
- wife up
- wife-beating question
- wife's best friend
- (woman) fishwife
- (woman) goodwife
- (woman) midwife
- (woman) old wife, old-wife, oldwife
- (woman) pudding-wife
- (woman) wifely
- (woman/partner) wifehood
- work wife
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
wife (third-person singular simple present wifes, present participle wifing, simple past and past participle wifed)
- (slang, African-American Vernacular) to marry (a woman)
- wife on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
- Pages starting with “wife”.
- Frank Graham (1987) The New Geordie Dictionary, →ISBN
- ^ Adams, Douglas Q. (1999) A dictionary of Tocharian B (Leiden Studies in Indo-European; 10), Amsterdam, Atlanta: Rodopi, →ISBN, page 238
- ^ Klaus Totila Schmit and Klaus Strunk, “Toch. B kwī̆pe ‘Schaum, Schande’, A kip ‘Schaum’ und germ. *wīƀa ‘Weib’”, Indogermanica Europaea: Festschrift für Wolfgang Meid (Graz: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Graz, 1989), pages 251-284
- ^ wife in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
- Alternative form of wyf
From Middle English wyf (“woman, wife”), from Old English wīf (“woman”).
wife (plural wifes)
- auld wife (“old woman; gossip; rotating chimney-cowl”)
- fishwife (“fishwife, derogatory for a woman of coarse behaviour, temperament and vocabulary”)
- guidwife (“wife, the mistress of a house, a landlady of an inn”)
- henwife (“a woman in charge of hens”)
- housewifeskip (“housewifery”)
- selkie-wife (“female selkie, mermaid”, literally “female seal”)
- spaewife (“female fortune teller”)
- washerwife (“washerwoman”)
- weedae-wife (“widow”)
- weirdwife (“prophetess, fortune-teller”)