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See also: cowife



co- +‎ wife



co-wife (plural co-wives)

  1. In a polygamous marriage, another wife of a woman's husband.
    • 1892, Kipling & Balestier, Naulahka, page 247:
      If a co-wife had sought the lives of those three of thine.
    • 1990, Syed A. A. Razwy, Khadija-tul-Kubra (the Wife of the Prophet Muhammed) May Allah be Pleased with Her: A Short Story of Her Life), page 165:
      In fact, [Ayesha] was more jealous of Khadija, the dead wife, than she was of any of her living co-wives.
    • 2000, Marjorie Shostak, Nisa, the life and words of a ǃKung woman, page 152:
      If the senior wife decides to make life unbearable for her co-wife and their husband, she is likely to succeed in forcing the newcomer to leave.
    • 2008, Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen, Polygamy: a cross-cultural analysis, page 32:
      In other words, polygamous societies differ markedly with regards to allowing kin, especially sisters, to become co-wives. Sororal polygamy is practised in some societies because it is believed to foster greater cohesiveness among co-wives sharing values and norms, whereas it is specifically forbidden in other polygamous societies.


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