Definition of housewife in English:



  • 1A married woman whose main occupation is caring for her family, managing household affairs, and doing housework.

    ‘the traditional division of labour between the husband as breadwinner and wife as housewife’
    ‘I am not just a housewife, I am an accountant, nurse, negotiator, cook, driver’
    • ‘Born in 1946, the son of an electrician, his mother a housewife, Boyle was raised in a family that placed great store by a moral code.’
    • ‘In Germany, as a housewife and mother of two young children, she began to write.’
    • ‘Set at the beginning of the Second World War, the one-off drama follows six turbulent years in the life of a real Lancashire housewife.’
    • ‘I am a housewife raising a family, paying a mortgage and doing the usual things that people do.’
    • ‘A provincial housewife and a married doctor meet at a railway station and subsequently fall in love.’
    • ‘Scottish researchers have proved what housewives always knew: the more housework women do, the more depressed they become.’
    • ‘She is now a housewife and full-time mum to her children.’
    • ‘His father worked on building sites, his mother was a housewife.’
    • ‘My Mum was a typical housewife, loved housework and didn't feel I should really do anything round the house.’
    • ‘You can't talk about him without mentioning Shirley Valentine, the film that prompted a generation of housewives to book holidays on Mykonos.’
    • ‘Only a year ago, she was a mother of six, farmer's wife and a housewife.’
    • ‘In case you've not seen it yet the story focuses on a group of middle class middle American housewives and their marriages, affairs, divorces and neuroses.’
    • ‘Long ago strict Lenten rules prohibited the eating of all dairy products so housewives made pancakes to use up their supply of milk, eggs, and butter.’
    • ‘From advice to housewives on the importance of preserving kitchen waste to the announcement of an ice cream ban in 1942, the book gives a taste of the thrifty war years.’
  • 2A small case for needles, thread, and other small sewing items.

    • ‘A typical sewing kit or "housewife" contained needles, thread, buttons, scissors, etc. for that purpose.’
    • ‘My partner also has his "housewife" from National Service in the RAF in the 1950s, mostly spent in Egypt.’


Middle English husewif (see house, wife).