One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A midwife. rare (now historical).
2A woman in labour, or who has recently given birth. Now rare (literary and historical).
3Chiefly in form child-wife. A wife who is still a child; a very young wife.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in John Trevisa (c1342–?1402), translator. From child + wife.
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