Literally ‘inside the house’ from the Sino-Japanese (on'yomi) readings of
家 (か, ka, “house”)
+ 内 (ない, nai, “inside”).
家内 (hiragana かない, rōmaji kanai)
- (humble) (one's own) wife
- (one’s own wife): (more gender-neutral) 妻 (tsuma)
- (another’s wife): 奥さん (okusan)
- This word should only be used in reference to the speaker’s own wife, whereas 奥さん (okusan) is a polite term used to refer to someone else’s wife.
- 妻 (tsuma) is a more general term for a wife, and can also mean spouse.
- 家内 is offensive to some, literally meaning “in the house”, thus carrying connotations of traditional gender roles; in this case, 妻 is preferred.