\ˈwīf \
plural wives\ˈwīvz \

Definition of wife 

1a dialect : woman

b : a woman acting in a specified capacity used in combination fishwife

2 : a female partner in a marriage

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Other Words from wife

wifehood \ˈwīf-​ˌhu̇d, ˈwī-​ˌfu̇d \ noun
wifeless \ˈwī-​fləs \ adjective

Synonyms for wife


helpmate, helpmeet, lady, little woman, madam, missus (or missis), Mrs., old lady, wifey, woman [chiefly dialect]

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Examples of wife in a Sentence

We met him and his wife. a husband and wife who treat each other as equals in their marriage

Recent Examples on the Web

After the couple were officially pronounced husband and wife, guests were treated to a dinner of traditional Mexican food with a twist by Chef Eduardo Ruiz. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "Miguel and His Longtime Love Nazanin Mandi Are Married—Inside Their Wedding at Hummingbird Ranch in California," 27 Nov. 2018 Segale is survived by his wife Donna, four children, and nine grandchildren. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Mario Segale, namesake for Nintendo’s mascot, dies at 84," 2 Nov. 2018 The dead include a set of brothers, a husband and wife, professors, dentists and a physician. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Trumps pay tribute at synagogue where 11 were fatally shot," 31 Oct. 2018 Among the victims were two brothers, a husband and wife, and a 97-year-old woman. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh: what we know," 28 Oct. 2018 Home is a compound of 19th-century farmhouses set on several bucolic acres of olive trees on a hill between Florence and Impruneta, which is shared with Riccardo’s wife, Daniela, and Francesco’s sister, Elena. Maria Shollenbarger, ELLE Decor, "An Italian Design Firm Transforms Discreet-but-Luxe Kitchens with a Timeless Florentine Aesthetic," 18 Oct. 2018 Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank just shared their first kiss as husband and wife. Emma Dibdin, Town & Country, "See Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank's First Kiss at the Royal Wedding," 12 Oct. 2018 An Emperor's Hand and Jedi Master, Jade was Luke's wife who, in the old (now-discarded) Star Wars canon, was killed by her own nephew Jacen Solo (who's sort of the spiritual predecessor of Kylo Ren). Adam Schubak, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know So Far About Star Wars Episode IX," 17 Sep. 2018 It was recently found by his wife, and the contents [were] auctioned off. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "What’s in your bag, Adam Savage?," 7 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wife.' 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 wife

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for wife

Middle English wif, from Old English wīf; akin to Old High German wīb wife and probably to Tocharian B kwīpe female pudenda

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Statistics for wife

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for wife

The first known use of wife was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for wife



English Language Learners Definition of wife

: a married woman : the woman someone is married to


\ˈwīf \
plural wives\ˈwīvz \

Kids Definition of wife

: a married woman

Other Words from wife

wifely adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on wife

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wife

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wife

Spanish Central: Translation of wife

Nglish: Translation of wife for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wife for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wife

Comments on wife

What made you want to look up wife? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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