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Denotation vs. Connotation

wife-beater

noun
1.
a man who hits his wife
Derived Forms
wife-beating, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Examples from the Web for wife-beater
Historical Examples
  • Plenty of scoundrels have been sent to the galleys for less than that, but the courts won't concern themselves with a wife-beater.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • The aspect of Willems as a wife-beater presented to him no interest.

  • They comfortably jail and feed a wife-beater, and leave his innocent wife and children to starve.

    What Is Man? And Other Stories Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • Not the wife-beater, for afterward he might beg her forgiveness and kiss her.

    The Starbucks Opie Percival Read
  • The man was a wife-beater when drunk, which he was whenever he had “the price.”

    Neighbors Jacob A. Riis
  • Delaware occupies toward freethinkers precisely the same position that a wife-beater does toward the wife.

  • How do we know but what that wife-beater loved his wife dearly before marriage, and she did not care for him?

    Kenelm Chillingly, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • She stole curious and forlorn glances at the dejected Bob, who bore the guilty look of at least a wife-beater or a family tyrant.

    The Trimmed Lamp O. Henry
  • For example, the selfishness of a wife-beater is lower than the selfishness of a man who gives up his life for another.

    The Journal of a Disappointed Man Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion
Contemporary definitions for wife-beater
noun

a man's tank top or sleeveless undershirt

Word Origin

fr the stereotype that the shirts are worn predominantly by men who beat their wives

Usage Note

derogatory slang

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Slang definitions & phrases for wife-beater

wiener dog

noun phrase

A dachshund; sausage hound: For wiener dogs across Wisconsin (1990s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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