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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Thompson and Grant play brother and sister in the film, with Thompson as housewife Karen and Grant as David, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 22 Nov. 2022 The Melitta cone coffee filter, invented by the German housewife Melitta Bentz, hasn’t changed since 1937. Belinda Lanks, WSJ, 17 Nov. 2022 Born in New York City in 1949, Lear was raised in West Hartford, Conn., the son of a civic-minded surgeon and an unhappy suburban housewife. Daniel Oppenheimer, Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2022 The eight-part series aims to understand Marsha's transformation from housewife to drug-dealer and bar owner, as well as serve as a platform for Karen and Jamie to reflect on their own pasts. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 3 Nov. 2022 Meanwhile, Dillard-Bassett's fellow housewife Ashley Darby parodied the entire Potomac cast using their most talked about interview looks. Diana Pearl, Peoplemag, 1 Nov. 2022 In 1974, Hotchkis wrote her first play, Legacy, about a day when an upper-class housewife suffers a mental and emotional breakdown. Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Oct. 2022 That’s a serious obstacle for a movie that is essentially about how the ’50s-housewife vision is simply a male-power fantasy—a premise that would require Styles to be a more malevolent, commanding presence. David Sims, The Atlantic, 23 Sep. 2022 However, 1950s housewife Pugh soon realizes that the town has sinister secrets and terrifying chaos ensues. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 19 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'housewife.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 2 Dec. 2022.

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

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