house·​wife | \ ˈhau̇s-ˌwīf How to pronounce housewife (audio) ; especially in sense 2 and in early poetry ˈhə-zəf or -səf How to pronounce housewife (audio) \
plural housewives\ ˈhau̇s-​ˌwīvz How to pronounce housewives (audio) also  ˈhau̇z-​ˌwīvz ; ˈhə-​zəfs , -​zəvz , -​səfs , -​səvz \

Definition of housewife

1 : a married woman in charge of a household
2 : a pocket-size container for small articles (such as thread)

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Other Words from housewife

housewifeliness \ ˈhau̇s-​ˌwīf-​lē-​nəs How to pronounce housewifeliness (audio) \ noun
housewifely \ ˈhau̇s-​ˌwīf-​lē How to pronounce housewifely (audio) \ adjective
housewifery \ ˈhau̇s-​ˌwī-​f(ə-​)rē How to pronounce housewifery (audio) ; British  -​(ˌ)wi-​f(ə-​)rē also  ˈhə-​zə-​frē \ noun
housewifey \ ˈhau̇s-​ˌwī-​fē How to pronounce housewifey (audio) \ adjective

Examples of housewife in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

There’s a housewife played by Ginnifer Goodwin in the ‘60s, a socialite (Lucy Liu) in the ‘80s, and a lawyer (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) in 2019, each dealing with infidelity in their marriages. Paula Bernstein, Fortune, "What TV Shows to Watch This August: From ‘BH90210’ and ‘GLOW’ to ‘Mindhunter’ and More," 1 Aug. 2019 But soon after, lay readers like Marjorie Rice, a San Diego housewife with a high school math education, discovered new tessellating pentagon families beyond those known to Kershner. Quanta Magazine, "Pentagon Tiling Proof Solves Century-Old Math Problem," 11 July 2017 The postmodern novel about a housewife in Ohio is written as one sentence, and is 1,040 pages long. Michael Schaub, Los Angeles Times, "Booker Prize longlist includes Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Valeria Luiselli," 24 July 2019 In this historical thriller set in 1960s Baltimore, 30-something housewife Maddie Schwartz leaves her husband to pursue her passion for journalism. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, "5 books not to miss: 'Lady in the Lake,' 'Crisis in the Red Zone,' 'Helpline'," 21 July 2019 Yet Lina — a bored 30-something Indiana housewife whose dud of a husband won’t even kiss her — allows herself to be at Aidan’s beck and call. Laura Collins-hughes,, "Buzzy ‘Three Women’ makes for a cryptic triptych," 18 July 2019 The story focuses on three fictional characters — a widowed Jewish immigrant, a frustrated housewife/mother and a steely determined African American musician. Tom Titus,, "On Theater: ‘Ragtime’ a sprawling epic at the Chance," 8 July 2019 Backed by a dream-team of musicians, two vocal groups and a 40-piece orchestra, Elvis relished the reunion with his fans, many of them housewives who had screamed for him as teenagers. The Economist, "When the King saved Vegas," 11 July 2019 After marrying Yong Hwan Kim in 1963, Bok Soon worked as a housewife, caring for her mentally disabled eldest daughter and her other three children. Lauren Kim, The Mercury News, "How kimchi expresses my grandma’s love," 21 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of housewife

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for housewife

Last Updated

14 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for housewife

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

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More Definitions for housewife



English Language Learners Definition of housewife

: a married woman who stays at home, does cleaning, cooking, etc., and does not have another job outside the home


house·​wife | \ ˈhau̇s-ˌwīf How to pronounce housewife (audio) \
plural housewives\ -​ˌwīvz \

Kids Definition of housewife

: a married woman in charge of a household

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More from Merriam-Webster on housewife

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with housewife

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for housewife

Spanish Central: Translation of housewife

Nglish: Translation of housewife for Spanish Speakers

Comments on housewife

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to shake or wave menacingly

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