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

Examples of housewife in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Friel plays Greta, a housewife who the protagonist Sheila meets at their children's crunchy, granola preschool. Leah Marilla Thomas,, 28 June 2021 In March, Chitra Arun Rakshe, a 47-year-old housewife in Pune, lost her father to a heart attack. Washington Post, 22 June 2021 She’s a naïve housewife in a way that feels very 1960s. Matthew Jacobs, Vulture, 22 June 2021 On the face of it, Murphy has run as far from Alexis as possible, trading a human glitter ball for Allison, a long-suffering Worcester, Mass., housewife whose idea of a treat is Dunkin’ Donuts. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 20 June 2021 Like many women in that transitional time, Ms. Dobkin was frustrated by her role as a housewife and had joined a consciousness-raising group. New York Times, 28 May 2021 Elizabeth, a housewife and mother of six, had simply stood up to her domineering husband. Kate Moore, Time, 22 June 2021 Set in San Diego in the 1980s, Physical chronicles Sheila’s journey as a struggling housewife who finds release and empowerment through aerobics. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, 22 June 2021 Summer's a lonely Jersey housewife who dreams of being a Real Housewife. Darren Franich,, 3 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for housewife

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

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Last Updated

21 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Housewife.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on housewife

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for housewife

Nglish: Translation of housewife for Spanish Speakers


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