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 Viola Liuzzo, a White Detroit housewife, gave her life for Black voting rights when she was killed by racists during the Selma campaign in 1965. John Blake, CNN, "How 'good White people' derail racial progress," 1 Aug. 2020 The most notorious case of helper abuse captured the city's attention in 2015, when Hong Kong housewife Law Wan-tung was found guilty of abusing her helper, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, a 23-year-old woman from Indonesia. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Imagine being forced to live with your boss. That's the case for nearly 400,000 women in Hong Kong," 9 July 2020 Natalie, a pregnant housewife, is just days away from giving birth when an infected stranger breaks into her home and kills her husband, biting Natalie and infecting her in turn. Bill Sheehan, Washington Post, "Two new horror novels make sense of our current dystopian reality," 7 July 2020 The premiere began with San Diego housewife Betty being served divorce papers, and subsequent episodes have explored the history of and the dissolution of her relationship with her husband, Dan Broderick (Christian Slater). Jean Bentley,, "Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Episode 5 Recap: The Spiral," 23 June 2020 Donna Reed, who was famous for being an American housewife in the 50s and 60s, was used as an example for how Trump thinks women should behave, especially in his presence. Elly Belle, Refinery29, "Women Reporters Unite With Weijia Jiang Against Trump’s Racist & Sexist Media Attacks," 12 May 2020 During the 1970s and ’80s, when Schlafly led an improbable grassroots campaign of housewives to... Abigail Shrier, WSJ, "Hulu’s Stylish Hatchet Job on Phyllis Schlafly," 15 May 2020 In Australia, a Sydney housewife accidentally ordered 48 large boxes online, ending up with 2,304 rolls, or more than a lifetime supply. John Maccormack,, "Win a full pallet of toilet paper!," 13 May 2020 On one side is conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett) and an army of bread-baking housewives who permanently reshaped the Republican Party. Meredith Blakestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "How accurate is ‘Mrs. America’s’ portrayal of real events? We fact-checked it," 29 Apr. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for housewife

Last Updated

13 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Housewife.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for housewife


How to pronounce housewife (audio) How to pronounce housewife (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for housewife

Spanish Central: Translation of housewife

Nglish: Translation of housewife for Spanish Speakers

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