Definition of housewife in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈhaʊswʌɪf/

noun (plural housewives)

1A married woman whose main occupation is caring for her family, managing household affairs, and doing housework: the traditional division of labour between the husband as breadwinner and wife as housewife I am not just a housewife, I am an accountant, nurse, negotiator, cook, driver
More example sentences
  • I am a housewife raising a family, paying a mortgage and doing the usual things that people do.
  • A provincial housewife and a married doctor meet at a railway station and subsequently fall in love.
  • Only a year ago, she was a mother of six, farmer's wife and a housewife.
2ˈhʌzɪf A small case for needles, thread, and other small sewing items.
Example sentences
  • My partner also has his "housewife" from National Service in the RAF in the 1950s, mostly spent in Egypt.
  • A typical sewing kit or "housewife" contained needles, thread, buttons, scissors, etc. for that purpose.



Pronunciation: /ˈhaʊswʌɪfli/
Example sentences
  • In previous eras girls usually followed a distinctive curriculum, such as the polite accomplishments or the housewifely curriculum or cultural studies or domestic science courses.
  • She recalls her mother's initial disappointment when she abandoned architecture to take up cooking - a career that had a housewifely ring to it.
  • Then there are the usual housewifely chores - planning the menu, getting odd jobs done around the house.


Pronunciation: /ˈhaʊswɪfəri/
Example sentences
  • She turned her attention to the domestic work of housewifery, besides continuing her literary efforts at revising her writings.
  • The latter proclaims that it educates future leaders in a noble tradition when in fact it ushers future leaders' wives into the art of housewifery.
  • People, mostly women, felt suddenly obliged to ignite their creativity with their housewifery.


Middle English husewif (see house, wife).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: house|wife

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.