From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English hus-bō̆ndrī, hus-bō̆ndrīe, husbanderi, husbonderie, housbondrye, housebondrie (household management, housekeeping; household duties; economy, skilful management, thrift; farm management, agriculture, farming; cultivation; household articles; husbands collectively),[1] from hǒus-bō̆nd, hǒus-bō̆nde (male spouse, husband; master of a house; male head of a household; man having charge of something, household manager; (figuratively) host, inhabitant, resident; bondsman, villein; farmer, husbandman) (see further at husband)[2] + -rīe (suffix forming nouns collectively denoting members or practitioners of a craft or profession).[3] The English word can be analysed as husband +‎ -ry.[4]



husbandry (countable and uncountable, plural husbandries)

  1. The occupation or work of a husbandman or farmer; the cultivation of crops and the raising of livestock; agriculture.
    Synonym: agronomy
    • 1669, John Flavell [i.e., John Flavel], “The Proem”, in Husbandry Spiritualized or The Heavenly Use of Earthly Things. [], London: Printed and are to be sold by Robert Boulter, [], →OCLC, page 14:
      If the Church be God's Huſbandry, then, thoſe that be imployed in Miniſterial work, ought to be men of great judgment and experience in ſoul affairs; for theſe are the labourers whom God, the myſtical Huſbandman imploys and entruſts about his ſpiritual Huſbandry.
    • 1760, Thomas Hitt, A Treatise of Husbandry on the Improvement of Dry and Barren Lands. [], London: Printed for the author, and sold by J. Richardson [], and J. Webb, [], →OCLC, page 43:
      The number of perſons required to cultivate the land in farms, would not be the whole increaſe that incloſure would promote; for there would be many more required to make and repair all ſorts of utenſils for huſbandry and houſhold-furniture, and alſo artificers for building, and their clothing would likewise cauſe employment for many others.
    • 1847 April, [Henry Stephens Randall], “Letter V. Profits of Sheep Husbandry in the Southern States.—I. Direct Profit on Capital Invested.”, in John S[tuart] Skinner, editor, Monthly Journal of Agriculture, [], volume II, number 10, New York, N.Y.: Greeley & McElrath, [], →OCLC, page 461:
      On grain farms, it is considered good economy to keep one sheep for every acre of cleared land which the farm contains; on those where mixed husbandry is practiced, two; and on those exclusively devoted to sheep, three.
    • 1864 May 1, Thomas T. Lynch, “The Young Ruler; or, The Great Refusal: A Sermon”, in E. J. Evans, W. F. Hurndall, editors, Pulpit Memorials. Photographs and Specimen Sermons of Twenty Congregational Ministers, with Brief Memoirs by Several Friend, London: James Clarke & Co. []; Hodder & Stoughton, [], published 1878, →OCLC, page 445:
      But often as a cultured tree knows nothing of the husbandries which beautified the stock from which it sprang, and thus caused its beauty, so youths know nothing of the spiritual husbandries of past days, to which they are indebted for the moral attractiveness they have to others, and the moral strength which they themselves deem sufficient.
    • 2009, Wendell Berry, “Sanitation and the Small Farm”, in Bringing It to the Table: On Farming and Food, Berkeley, Calif.: Counterpoint, →ISBN, part I (Farming), page 83:
      Both the foraging in fields and woods and the small husbandries of household and barn have now been almost entirely replaced by the "consumer economy," which assumes that it is better to buy whatever one needs than to find it or make it or grow it.
    • 2016 January, Elizabeth Royte, “Vultures Are Revolting. Here’s Why We Need to Save Them.”, in National Geographic[1], Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 4 December 2016:
      On a sunny March day Ogada is traveling with her colleague Munir Virani in the Masai Mara region of Kenya. Virani is here not to study his beloved birds but to speak with herdsmen about their cows. Livestock husbandry, it turns out, is essential to vulture welfare.
  2. The prudent management or conservation of resources.
    Synonyms: economy, frugality, thrift
  3. (now chiefly nautical) Administration or management of day-to-day matters.
    • 1999 April, “Phase I Discharge Determinations”, in Technical Development Document for Phase I Uniform National Discharge Standards for Vessels of the Armed Forces (EPA 821-R-99-001), Arlington, Va.: Naval Sea Systems Command, U.S. Department of the Navy; Washington, D.C.: Engineering and Analysis Division, Office of Science and Technology, Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, →OCLC, section 5.1.24 (Underwater Ship Husbandry), pages 5-22–5-23:
      The underwater ship husbandry discharge is composed of materials discharged during the inspection, maintenance, cleaning, and repair of hulls and hull appendages performed while the vessel is waterborne. Underwater ship husbandry includes activities such as hull cleaning, fiberglass repair, welding, sonar dome repair, propulsor lay-up, non-destructive testing, masker belt repairs, and painting operations.
  4. (obsolete) Agricultural or cultivated land.
    • 1641, William Prynne, “Comprising the Several Treasons, Comspiracies, Rebellions, Contumacies, Disloyalties, Warres, Dissentions, and State-schismes of the Bishops of London, Winchester, Durham, Salisbury, and Lincolne”, in The Antipathie of the English Lordly Prelacie, both to Regall Monarchy, and to Civill Unity: []. The First Part, London: Printed by authority for Michael Sparke senior, →OCLC, pages 335–336:
      [H]ow carefull God had beene in providing Tithes and Oblations for the Prieſt under the Law, giving him not Lands and Huſbandries amongſt the other Tribes, ut in nulla re avocaretur, that hee might have no occaſion to be withdrawne from the Altar; []
  5. Techniques of animal care.
    • 2020 April 17, Lyndra Griffith, “Kamstra et al. v. Animal Welfare Services, 2020 ONACRB 2”, in CanLII[2], retrieved 18 May 2022:
      Dr. Durfy was asked in his written cross-examination why it was his opinion that poor husbandry led to the conditions seen in all of the tortoises if he did not observe their habitat. Dr. Durfy replied "…The abnormalities and illnesses seen in the tortoises, especially when you consider that all of them are affected, are due to improper care, inappropriate diet, lighting humidity, temperature, hygiene, to name a few, are what causes issues in these species – poor husbandry."

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ hus-bō̆ndrī(e, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 17 February 2019.
  2. ^ hǒus-bō̆nd(e, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 17 February 2019.
  3. ^ -e)rīe, suf.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 17 February 2019.
  4. ^ husbandry, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2016; “husbandry”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]