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

Their solution was an ad campaign selling beer to housewives—not to drink it but to cook with it. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, "When Women Were Brewers," 4 Oct. 2018 Superstar designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard chose a different gal for a hang over the holidays: Beverly Hills housewife Lisa Vanderpump. Kaitlin Menza, House Beautiful, "Of Course Star Designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard Is Friends With Lisa Vanderpump," 30 Dec. 2018 Her father, a dour, iconoclastic vet with a tinkering sensibility, said her only practical direction was housewife, mother; besides, there was no money for college. Christopher Borrelli,, "Cartoonist Carol Tyler recounts her Beatles-obsessed childhood in Chicago," 15 June 2018 There was a series of 1950s housewives that were all thrown at me at the same time. Renée Fleming, Town & Country, "Julianne Moore Takes on the Role of Diva in the Long Awaited Film of Bel Canto," 12 Sep. 2018 Berlin’s narrators clean the homes of wealthier housewives, check in on nursing patients in a hospital, fold clothes at the laundromat, and troll for open liquor stores in early morning hours. Bridget Read, Vogue, "How Lucia Berlin Became A Literary Superstar 11 Years After Her Death (And Is About to Publish A New Collection)," 5 Nov. 2018 Claudia Jordan Moore is not the only real housewife interested in the position, however. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Who Could Be Julie Chen's Replacement on 'The Talk'," 28 Sep. 2018 The daughter of a housewife and a cemetery worker, Sandra had grown up to know great misfortune, but she had never expected to know exile. Kainaz Amaria, Vox, "2018, explained in pictures by women and non-binary photographers," 21 Dec. 2018 Mattel cofounder Ruth Handler hated being a mother and a housewife and was career-driven. Peter Keough,, "An immigrant story, atrocity tourism, the future of Barbie," 28 June 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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Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

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

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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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a shady place in a garden or forest

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