household arts

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household arts pl (plural only) (rarely used in the singular)

  1. (set phrase, dated) Theory and practice involving the skills and specialized knowledge in performing the domestic tasks required to care for the home and its occupants.
    • 1855, Thomas Bulfinch, chapter 23, in Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable:
      For the Phaeacian women as far exceeded all other women in household arts as the mariners of that country did the rest of mankind in the management of ships.
    • 1895, R. D. Blackmore, "Buscombe; or, A Michaelmas Goose" in Fringilla: Some Tales In Verse:
      The Vicar's wife was much the same,
      In fairer form presented—
      A lively, yet a quiet dame,
      With home, sweet home, contented.
      In parish, needs; and household arts,
      A lesson to this glib age;
      Well versed in pickles, jams, and tarts,
      Piano, chess, and cribbage.
    • 1920, Edith Wharton, chapter 5, in In Morocco:
      The Moroccan lady knows little of cooking, needlework or any household arts.
    • 2011 Jan. 19, Cintra Wilson, "A Primer for the Wholesome, Happy Home," New York Times (retrieved 3 Dec 2015):
      The inventory collectively amounts to the ingredients of an ideally wholesome, happy home — tools for a set of forgotten skills, tastes and virtues I casually refer to as “the household arts” — a medium that includes warm sheets stacked on ironing boards, pies cooling on windowsills, Mason jars full of last summer’s gooseberries, and cans of Old Dutch Cleanser under the sink.


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