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From Middle English husbonde, from Old English hūsbonda, hūsbunda (male head of a household, householder, master of a house), probably from Old Norse húsbóndi (master of house), from hús (house) + bóndi (dweller, householder), equivalent to house +‎ bond (serf, slave", originally, "dweller).

Bond in turn represents a formation derived from the present participle of WestScand. búa, EastScand. bôa = to build, plow; cf. German bauen, der Bauende. Cognate with Icelandic húsbóndi (head of household), Faroese húsbóndi (husband), Norwegian husbond (head of household, husband), Swedish husbonde (master), Danish husbonde (husband).


husband (plural husbands)

  1. (obsolete) The master of a house; the head of a family; a householder.
  2. (obsolete) A tiller of the ground; a husbandman.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, IV.3:
      a withered tree, through husbands toyle, / Is often seene full freshly to have florisht []
    • (Can we date this quote?) George Hakewill (1578-1649)
      the painful husband, ploughing up his ground
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Evelyn (1620-1706)
      He is the neatest husband for curious ordering his domestick and field accommodations.
  3. (archaic) A prudent or frugal manager.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Thomas Fuller (1606-1661)
      God knows how little time is left me, and may I be a good husband, to improve the short remnant left me.
  4. A man in a marriage or marital relationship, especially in relation to his spouse.
    You should start dating so you can find a suitable husband.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Blackstone (1723-1780)
      The husband and wife are one person in law.
    • 1915, Mrs. Belloc Lowndes, The Lodger, chapter I:
      A great bargain also had been [] the arm-chair in which Bunting now sat forward, staring into the dull, small fire. In fact, that arm-chair had been an extravagance of Mrs. Bunting. She had wanted her husband to be comfortable after the day's work was done, and she had paid thirty-seven shillings for the chair.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 6, A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      But Sophia's mother was not the woman to brook defiance. After a few moments' vain remonstrance her husband complied. His manner and appearance were suggestive of a satiated sea-lion.
  5. The male of a pair of animals.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)
  6. (UK) A manager of property; one who has the care of another's belongings, owndom, or interests; a steward; an economist.
  7. A large cushion with arms meant to support a person in the sitting position.
    While reading her book, Sally leaned back against her husband, wishing it were the human kind.
  8. (UK dialectal) A polled tree; a pollard.




Derived terms[edit]



husband (third-person singular simple present husbands, present participle husbanding, simple past and past participle husbanded)

  1. (transitive) To manage or administer carefully and frugally; use to the best advantage; economise.
    For my means, I'll husband them so well, / They shall go far. — Shakespeare.
  2. (transitive) To conserve.
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
      ...I found pens, ink, and paper, and I husbanded them to the utmost; and I shall show that while my ink lasted, I kept things very exact, but after that was gone I could not, for I could not make any ink by any means that I could devise.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To till; cultivate; farm; nurture.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Evelyn
      Land so trim and rarely husbanded.
  4. (transitive) To provide with a husband.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  5. (transitive) To engage or act as a husband to; assume the care of or responsibility for; accept as one's own.

Derived terms[edit]





hus (house) +‎ band (band)


husband n

  1. a group of musicians who regularly play live in a TV show