Definition of wife in US English:



  • 1A married woman considered in relation to her spouse.

    • ‘Lydia is invited to accompany a colonel and his young wife to Brighton with the soldiers.’
    • ‘Three years ago he divorced his second wife Anthea, with whom he has two small children.’
    • ‘Spare a thought for all those wives, husbands and children who this weekend will be saying their goodbyes.’
    • ‘The young wife's gaunt desolation is one of the most haunting aspects of the novel.’
    • ‘I'll fly you and your wife first class to New Orleans for a symposium.’
    • ‘My wife was ill last year and could not work.’
    • ‘The bond that was of greatest importance to him was the one he shared with his wife.’
    • ‘By the early 1970s he tired of politics and moved to a Greek fishing village with his wife.’
    • ‘Before he knew it, he and his wife were dragged out to the street.’
    • ‘He just found out his wife has been having an affair.’
    • ‘His estranged wife was recently killed in a car crash, leaving him numb and vulnerable.’
    • ‘Betty looked radiant and even Albert seemed pleased and wouldn't let go of his new wife's hand.’
    • ‘Robin's wife is pregnant with their second baby.’
    • ‘He met Cynthia while on holiday in Italy, shortly after divorcing his second wife.’
    • ‘He faced four charges, including making a threat to kill his wife Estelle.’
    • ‘He is considering leaving Philadelphia and moving to New York, away from his wife and child.’
    • ‘My introduction to the wonder of dogs came from my wife Robyn.’
    spouse, partner, mate, consort, woman, bride
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with modifier The wife of a person with a specified occupation.
      ‘a faculty wife’
      • ‘Of late she seems to be settling in well as a competent full-time royal wife and new mother.’
    2. 1.2British dialect, archaic A woman, especially an old or uneducated one.


  • take a woman to wife

    • archaic Marry a woman.

      • ‘Let us therefore return to our kingdoms and resolve never again to take a woman to wife; and as for me, I will show thee what I will do.’
      • ‘Actually, telling the common folk that Sarah was his sister probably would have worked okay because the custom in those days was to ask permission from the father, or the brothers if the father was gone, before a man could take a woman to wife.’
      • ‘Abraham knew the Egyptians would not refrain from killing a husband in order to win a beautiful woman, but according to the etiquette of the times they would not take a woman to wife without the consent of her father or her brother (as in the cases of Rebecca, Dinah).’


Old English wīf ‘woman’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wijf and German Weib.