better half

better half

noun
1.
a person's wife.
2.
a person's husband.

Origin:
1830–40

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World English Dictionary
better half
 
n
jocular one's spouse

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

better half

  1. Also, . The larger amount or majority of something, as in I won't be long; the better half of this job is complete, or I have spent the better part of my life in this city. Sir Philip Sidney used the first term in Arcadia (1580): "I ... shall think the better half of it already achieved." The variant appears in a well-known proverb, discretion is the better part of valor.

  2. Also, my better half. One's (my) spouse, as in I'm not sure if we can go; I'll have to check with my better half. Originally this expression meant "a close friend or lover," and by the 16th century it referred to either a wife or lover. Sidney used it in this way, again in Arcadia: "My dear, my better half (said he), I find I must now leave thee." Today it tends to be used lightly for either husband or wife. "Late 1500s"

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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