1. [syn: wife, married woman]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Wife \Wife\, n.; pl. Wives. [OE. wif, AS. wif; akin to OFries.
& OS. wif, D. wijf, G. weib, OHG. w[imac]b, Icel. v[imac]f,
Dan. viv; and perhaps to Skr. vip excited, agitated,
inspired, vip to tremble, L. vibrare to vibrate, E. vibrate.
Cf. Tacitus, [" Germania" 8]: Inesse quin etiam sanctum
aliquid et providum putant, nec aut consilia earum
aspernantur aut responsa neglegunt. Cf. Hussy a jade,
1. A woman; an adult female; -- now used in literature only
in certain compounds and phrases, as alewife, fishwife,
goodwife, and the like. " Both men and wives." --Piers
On the green he saw sitting a wife. --Chaucer.
2. The lawful consort of a man; a woman who is united to a
man in wedlock; a woman who has a husband; a married
woman; -- correlative of husband. " The husband of one
wife." --1 Tin. iii. 2.
Let every one you . . . so love his wife even as
himself, and the wife see that she reverence her
husband. --Eph. v. 33.
To give to wife, To take to wife, to give or take (a
woman) in marriage.
Wife's equity (Law), the equitable right or claim of a
married woman to a reasonable and adequate provision, by
way of settlement or otherwise, out of her choses in
action, or out of any property of hers which is under the
jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery, for the support of
herself and her children. --Burrill.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a married woman; a man's partner in marriage [syn: wife,
married woman] [ant: hubby, husband, married man]
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
24 Moby Thesaurus words for "wife":
better half, bride, common-law wife, concubine, consort, dowager,
feme, feme covert, goodwife, goody, helpmate, helpmeet, lady,
married woman, mate, matron, old lady, old woman, other half, rib,
spouse, squaw, wedded wife, woman
Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary:
The ordinance of marriage was sanctioned in Paradise (Gen. 2:24;
Matt. 19:4-6). Monogamy was the original law under which man
lived, but polygamy early commenced (Gen. 4:19), and continued
to prevail all down through Jewish history. The law of Moses
regulated but did not prohibit polygamy. A man might have a
plurality of wives, but a wife could have only one husband. A
wife's legal rights (Ex. 21:10) and her duties (Prov. 31:10-31;
1 Tim. 5:14) are specified. She could be divorced in special
cases (Deut. 22:13-21), but could not divorce her husband.
Divorce was restricted by our Lord to the single case of
adultery (Matt. 19:3-9). The duties of husbands and wives in
their relations to each other are distinctly set forth in the
New Testament (1 Cor. 7:2-5; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18, 19; 1 Pet.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
WIFE, domestic relations. A woman who has a husband.
2. A wife, as such, possesses rights and is liable to obligations.
These will be considered. 1st. She may make contracts for the purchase of
real estate for her own benefit, unless her husband expressly dissents. 6
Binn. R. 427. And she is entitled to a legacy directly given to her for her
separate use. 6 Serg. & Rawle, R. 467. In some places, by statutory
provision, she may act as a feme sole trader, and as such acquire personal
property. 2 Serg. & Rawle, R. 289.
3. 2d. She may in Pennsylvania, and in most other states, convey her
interest in her own or her husband's lands by deed acknowledged in a form
prescribed by law. 8 Dowl. R. 630.
4.-3d. She is under obligation to love, honor and obey her husband and
is bound to follow him wherever he may desire to establish himself: 5 N. S.
60; (it is presumed not out of the boundaries of the United States,) unless
the husband, by acts of injustice and such as are contrary to his marital
duties, renders her life or happiness insecure.
5.-4th. She is not liable for any obligations she enters into to pay
money on any contract she makes, while she lives with her husband; she is
presumed in such case to act as the agent of her husband. Chitty, Contr. 43
6.-5th. The incapacities of femes covert, apply to their civil rights,
and are intended for their protection and interest. Their political rights
stand upon different grounds, they can, therefore, acquire and lose a
national character. These rights stand upon the general principles of the
law of nations. Harp. Eq. R. 5 3 Pet. R. 242.
7.-6th. A wife, like all other persons, when she acts with freedom, may
be punished for her criminal acts. But the law presumes, when she commits in
his presence a crime, not malum in se, as murder or treason, that she acts
by the command and coercion of her husband, and, upon this ground, she is
exempted from punishment. Rose. on Cr. Ev. 785. But this is only a
presumption of law, and if it appears, upon the evidence, that she did not
in fact commit the act under compulsion, but was herself a principal actor
and inciter in it, she may be punished. 1 Hale, P. C. 516; 1 Russ. on Cr.
16, 20. Vide Contract; Divorce; Husband; Incapacity; Marriage; Necessaries;
Parties to actions; Parties to contracts; Women and, generally, Bouv. Inst.