house·​wife | \ˈhau̇s-ˌwīf; especially in sense 2 and in early poetry ˈhə-zəf or -səf \
plural housewives\ˈhau̇s-​ˌwīvz 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 \ noun
housewifely \ˈhau̇s-​ˌwīf-​lē \ adjective
housewifery \ˈhau̇s-​ˌwī-​f(ə-​)rē; British -​(ˌ)wi-​f(ə-​)rē also ˈhə-​zə-​frē \ noun
housewifey \ˈhau̇s-​ˌwī-​fē \ adjective

Examples of housewife in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

His father was a pilot and an aerial photographer who operated a shipping franchise in a London suburb, and his mother was a housewife. Harry Hurt, Town & Country, "T&C Profile: Luke Donald," 8 Apr. 2014 When the war broke out, this daughter of a distinguished British family was a Berlin housewife married to Willi, a working-class photographer. Julia Boyd, WSJ, "Five Best: Julia Boyd on Memoirs About Nazi Germany," 30 Aug. 2018 Koh Chieng Mun as Neena Goh The veteran Singaporean actor is most famous for her role as housewife Dolly in the English-language sitcom, Under One Roof. Jasmine Arielle Ting, Teen Vogue, "Meet the Entire Cast of "Crazy Rich Asians" and the Characters They Play: Constance Wu, Awkwafina, Henry Golding, and More," 1 Aug. 2018 My knees are tense … ‘the housewife’s disease’ has taken hold of me … the current has been switched on: I must-dress-Janet-get-her-breakfast-send-her-off-to-school-get-Michael’s-breakfast-don’t-forget-I’m-out-of-tea-etc.-etc. Claire Dederer, The Cut, "What I’d Like to Tell My New-Mom Self," 30 May 2018 Yvonne was housewife for most of her life, but was a woman of many talents. Hartford Courant,, "Yvonne Constance Daniels," 17 June 2018 Some housewives have spent tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on their hosts, working extra jobs, economizing on groceries, or extorting their husbands. Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, "Japan’s Rent-a-Family Industry," 23 Apr. 2018 Suddenly classes were being led by college students, retired teachers and housewives. Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, "The day Florida teachers resigned en masse in the country’s first statewide strike," 22 Feb. 2018 Dresses had a retro-futuristic vibe, a bit 1950s housewife meets Barbarella. Rhonda Richford, The Hollywood Reporter, "Fendi Embraces Faux Over Fur in Paris Couture Show," 5 July 2018

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

4 Dec 2018

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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 \
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

Spanish Central: Translation of housewife

Nglish: Translation of housewife for Spanish Speakers

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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