weaker vessel

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weaker vessel (plural weaker vessels)

  1. (idiomatic, dated, now offensive) A woman; women collectively.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, 1 Peter 3:7:
      Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel.
    • 1727, Daniel Defoe, chapter 8, in The Political History of the Devil:
      Certainly, when Satan first made the Attempt upon Eve, he did not think he should have so easily conquered her. . . . Well might she be said to be the weaker Vessel, tho’ Adam himself had little enough to say for his being the stronger.
    • 1868–1869, Louisa M[ay] Alcott, chapter 41, in Little Women: [], (please specify |part=1 or 2), Boston, Mass.: Roberts Brothers, →OCLC:
      When women are the advisers, the lords of creation don't take the advice till they have persuaded themselves that it is just what they intended to do. Then they act upon it, and, if it succeeds, they give the weaker vessel half the credit of it. If it fails, they generously give her the whole.

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