Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



From Middle English, equivalent to house +‎ wife. See also hussy.


huswife (plural huswifes or huswives)

  1. (obsolete) A housewife.
  2. (obsolete) A worthless woman; hussy.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069::
      He cals her on a sudden, all to naught; she is a strumpet, a light huswife, a bitch, an arrant whore.
  3. A small case containing scissors, thread, needles, and other sewing things.
    • 1811, Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, ch.38:
      And for my part, I was all in a fright for fear your sister should ask us for the huswifes she had gave us a day or two before; but however, nothing was said about them, and I took care to keep mine out of sight.
    • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, volume II, chapter 1:
      I was sure it could not be far off; but I had put my huswife upon it, you see, without being aware, and so it was quite hid, but I had it in my hand so very lately that I was almost sure it must be on the table.


huswife (third-person singular simple present huswifes, present participle huswifing, simple past and past participle huswifed)

  1. (said of a woman) To manage with frugality.