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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English huswyfery, huswyffrye, howswyfry, equivalent to housewife +‎ -ry.



housewifery (usually uncountable, plural housewiferies)

  1. The state or activity of being a housewife; household management, domestic skills. [from 15th c.]
    • 1653, Margaret Cavendish, Poems and Fancies, London: J. Martin & J. Allestrye, “To the Reader,”[1]
      [] I have no Children to imploy my Care, and Attendance on; And my Lords Estate being taken away, had nothing for Huswifery, or thrifty Industry to imploy my selfe in; having no Stock to work on. For Housewifery is a discreet Management, and ordering all in Private, and Household Affaires, seeing nothing spoil’d, or Profusely spent, that every thing has its proper Place, and every Servant his proper Work, and every Work to be done in its proper Time; to be Neat, and Cleanly, to have their House quiet from all disturbing Noise. But Thriftiness is something stricter; for good Housewifery may be used in great Expenses; but Thriftiness signifies a Saving, or a getting; as to increase their Stock, or Estate.
    • 1894 December – 1895 November, Thomas Hardy, chapter V, in Jude the Obscure, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], published 1896, →OCLC:
      When the schoolmaster got back Sue was making a pretence of doing some housewifery as if she lived there.
    • 1918 March, Rebecca West [pseudonym; Cicily Isabel Fairfield], chapter II, in The Return of the Soldier, 1st US edition, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., →OCLC, page 47:
      "How you've forgotten," she cried, and ran up to him, rattling her keys and looking grave with housewifery, and I was left alone with the dusk and the familiar things.
    • 1936, William Faulkner, chapter 5, in Absalom, Absalom![2], New York: Modern Library, published 1951, page 156:
      [] drafted by circumstance at too soon an age into a pinch-penny housewifery which might have existed just as well upon a lighthouse rock []
  2. (obsolete) Household goods. [16th–19th c.]