Definition of wife in English:

wife

Line breaks: wife
Pronunciation: /wʌɪf
 
/

noun (plural wives /wʌɪvz/)

Phrases

take a woman to wife

archaic Marry a woman.
More example sentences
  • Let us therefore return to our kingdoms and resolve never again to take a woman to wife; and as for me, I will show thee what I will do.
  • Actually, telling the common folk that Sarah was his sister probably would have worked okay because the custom in those days was to ask permission from the father, or the brothers if the father was gone, before a man could take a woman to wife.
  • Abraham knew the Egyptians would not refrain from killing a husband in order to win a beautiful woman, but according to the etiquette of the times they would not take a woman to wife without the consent of her father or her brother (as in the cases of Rebecca, Dinah).

Derivatives

wifehood

noun
More example sentences
  • Ideology, promulgated by the learned few, and predominantly male, writers of the period extolled the virtues of wifehood and motherhood for women, but, in most cases, the gap between ideal and reality was wide.
  • The ethos of service and usefulness that permeated the vocational concept of wifehood and motherhood similarly motivated single woman: to be useful in the world, to provide help and guidance to those who need it.
  • The idealization and elevation of marriage and wifehood brought with it an emphasis on pure motives for marrying, resulting, in turn, in the elevation of spinsterhood and a more dignified view of single women.

wifeless

adjective
More example sentences
  • All will honour his enthusiasm, and if he be wifeless and childless, his disregard of the great object of men's work will be blameless.
  • I have been rendered wifeless by the Pandavs and therefore I want Panchali, the wife of the Pandavs.
  • Charlotte enters Maggie's household and comes to the attention of the wifeless Adam Verver, who proposes to her.

wife-like

adjective
More example sentences
  • Perhaps he thinks you use phrases and terms about the children's father that sound too ‘wife-like’, or he is weary of hearing you mention the other parent's name so much, or he perceives a tone in your voice or a look in your eyes.
  • I just realized my comment sounded too ‘wife-like’.

wifeliness

noun
More example sentences
  • ‘Emmy, I need a ship,’ declared Hector, with a fervour that threatened to swamp her resurgent wifeliness.
  • She is a comic pointilliste, and her precise inflections of wifeliness dot the brain like a quiver of hatpins.
  • How quickly I have reverted to a pre-feminist expectation of wifeliness.

wifely

adjective
More example sentences
  • I never imagined I would find myself in this wifely role, but here I am, with my endless lists and diary and calendar, keeping on top of everyone's activities - Mum to the whole family.
  • No, the words ‘heartless’ and ‘gad-about’ would be getting an airing from the misogynists as they dissected Victoria's desertion of her wifely duties.
  • People come to us because both partners are working extremely hard and no one has time to fulfill that wifely role.

Origin

Old English wīf 'woman', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wijf and German Weib.

More definitions of wife

Definition of wife in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kəːf
noun
a slit made by cutting with a saw