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[goo d-wahyf] /ˈgʊdˌwaɪf/
noun, plural goodwives
[goo d-wahyvz] /ˈgʊdˌwaɪvz/ (Show IPA)
Chiefly Scot. the mistress of a household.
(initial capital letter) Archaic. a title of respect for a woman.
Origin of goodwife
1275-1325; Middle English; see good, wife Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for goodwife
Historical Examples
  • “The child has good parts, though she is woefully ignorant,” said goodwife Hopkins aside to her husband.

    The Green Door Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • There was also present goodwife Corey, who was subsequently arrested for a witch.

    The Witch of Salem John R. Musick
  • Coffee was instantly produced, and cakes made by the fair fingers of the goodwife.

    Chasing the Sun R.M. Ballantyne
  • Aweel, and I trust he is not at his auld tricks again, goodwife?

    St. Ronan's Well Sir Walter Scott
  • He was without doubt the yellowish cat that had followed goodwife Evans.

    Some Three Hundred Years Ago Edith Gilman Brewster
  • Here he found the goodwife of the house 'sitting on a bink.'

    King Robert the Bruce A. F. Murison
  • The goodwife was nearly distracted trying to house her family and do her work in such crowded quarters.

    The Puritan Twins Lucy Fitch Perkins
  • goodwife Tinker was to look to me to-day; I felt very well this morning.

    Soldier Rigdale Beulah Marie Dix
  • Of the ill haps at Sand-heaps, and how Guest came to the goodwife there.

    The Story of Grettir The Strong Translated by Eirikr Magnusson and William Morris
  • goodwife Smyth (then a servant there) sayeth she beleeves she was borne 14 of Aprill.

British Dictionary definitions for goodwife


noun (archaic) (pl) -wives
the mistress of a household
a woman not of gentle birth: used as a title
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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