noun (1)
ale·​wife | \ ˈāl-ˌwīf How to pronounce alewife (audio) \

Definition of alewife

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a woman who keeps an alehouse


noun (2)
plural alewives\ ˈāl-​ˌwīvz How to pronounce alewives (audio) \

Definition of alewife (Entry 2 of 2)

: a food fish (Alosa pseudoharengus) of the herring family that is very abundant along the Atlantic coast also : any of several related fishes (such as the menhaden)

First Known Use of alewife

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1633, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for alewife

Noun (2)

perhaps alteration of obsolete allowes, a kind of shad, from French alose shad, from Old French, from Late Latin alausa

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The first known use of alewife was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Alewife.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on alewife

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with alewife Encyclopedia article about alewife

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