Definition of housewife in English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Only a year ago, she was a mother of six, farmer's wife and a housewife.’
    • ‘His father worked on building sites, his mother was a housewife.’
    • ‘She is now a housewife and full-time mum to her children.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My Mum was a typical housewife, loved housework and didn't feel I should really do anything round the house.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You can't talk about him without mentioning Shirley Valentine, the film that prompted a generation of housewives to book holidays on Mykonos.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Scottish researchers have proved what housewives always knew: the more housework women do, the more depressed they become.’
  • 2A small case for needles, thread, and other small sewing items.

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


Middle English husewif (see house, wife).