house·​wife ˈhau̇s-ˌwīf How to pronounce housewife (audio)
 especially in sense 2 and in early poetry  ˈhə-zəf,
-səf How to pronounce housewife (audio)
plural housewives ˈhau̇s-ˌwīvz How to pronounce housewife (audio)
 also  ˈhau̇z-ˌwīvz;
: a married woman in charge of a household
: a pocket-size container for small articles (such as thread)
housewifeliness noun
housewifely adjective
ˈhau̇s-ˌwī-f(ə-)rē How to pronounce housewife (audio)
 British  -(ˌ)wi-f(ə-)rē
 also  ˈhə-zə-frē
housewifey adjective

Examples of housewife in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Members like Harris traveled to places like Milwaukee in order to to walk through Black neighborhoods and conduct interviews with barbers, housewives and community activists — people who lived there during the disturbances and didn't just watch them from a safe distance on TV. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, 9 Apr. 2024 Beyoncé’s aggression is so outsize, so bold, as to amuse in the manner of a fight between reality-TV housewives. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 29 Mar. 2024 This new group of housewives goes through everything together: divorces, wine-label launches, and the constant terror of living in the besieged Roku City. Dennard Dayle, The New Yorker, 26 Mar. 2024 As the show’s costume designer, Alix Friedberg, explains, fashioning Maxine and her fellow housewives was central to Palm Royale’s storytelling. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, 20 Mar. 2024 Twelve years on from embodying Wisteria Lane’s housewife Gabrielle Solis, Longoria has gone on to become a director, the CEO of her own production company, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment and a political activist. Orianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 15 Mar. 2024 The film stars Gena Rowlands in what many consider to be among the greatest film performances of all time as a Los Angeles housewife grappling with addiction and mental illness. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2024 His mother, then a housewife, returned to the fields to shoulder the cost. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, 6 Mar. 2024 Hilton Head Island, South Carolina: Despite what Bravo promotes, Hilton Head Island in South Carolina isn’t only for housewives and reality television professionals. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 4 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'housewife.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of housewife was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near housewife

Cite this Entry

“Housewife.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


house·​wife ˈhau̇-ˌswīf How to pronounce housewife (audio)
sense 2 is often
ˈhəz-əf How to pronounce housewife (audio)
: a married woman who manages her own home
: a small container for small articles (as thread)
housewifeliness noun
housewifely adjective
housewifery noun

More from Merriam-Webster on housewife

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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