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Etymology 1[edit]

ale + wife


alewife (plural alewives)

  1. (archaic) A woman who keeps an alehouse.

Etymology 2[edit]

a shad species called alewife

Unknown. Possibly from aloof, the Indian name of a fish. See Winthrop on the culture of maize in America, “Phil Trans.” No. 142, p. 1065, and Baddam’s “Memoirs,” vol. ii. p. 131.

Possibly from allowes (a type of shad), from French alose (shad), from Old French, from Late Latin alausa, influenced by Etymology 1 due to large belly of the fish.


alewife (plural alewives)

  1. A North American fish, Clupea vernalis, of the herring family.
  2. A migrating North American fish, Alosa pseudoharengus.
  3. Any of several species similar in appearance.
Derived terms[edit]

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