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8 Words That Are Older Than You Think

alewife1

[eyl-wahyf] /ˈeɪlˌwaɪf/
noun, plural alewives.
1.
a North American fish, Alosa pseudoharengus, resembling a small shad.
Origin
Gallo-Latin
1625-1635
1625-35, Americanism; earlier allowes, perhaps influenced by alewife2, probably < French alose shad < Gallo-Latin alausa

alewife2

[eyl-wahyf] /ˈeɪlˌwaɪf/
noun, plural alewives.
1.
a woman who owns or operates an alehouse.
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English; see ale, wife
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for ale wife

alewife

/ˈeɪlˌwaɪf/
noun (pl) -wives
1.
a North American fish, Pomolobus pseudoharengus, similar to the herring Clupea harengus: family Clupeidae (herrings)
Word Origin
C19: perhaps an alteration (through influence of alewife, that is, a large rotund woman, alluding to the fish's shape) of French alose shad
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for ale wife

alewife

n.

herring-like fish of North America, 1630s, named from the word for female tavern keepers (late 14c.), from ale + wife; the fish so called in reference to its large abdomen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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