Hypertext Webster Gateway: "wife"

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary (easton)

The ordinance of marriage was sanctioned in Paradise (Gen. 2:24;
Matt. 19:4-6). Monogamy was the original law under which man
lived, but polygamy early commenced (Gen. 4:19), and continued
to prevail all down through Jewish history. The law of Moses
regulated but did not prohibit polygamy. A man might have a
plurality of wives, but a wife could have only one husband. A
wife's legal rights (Ex. 21:10) and her duties (Prov. 31:10-31;
1 Tim. 5:14) are specified. She could be divorced in special
cases (Deut. 22:13-21), but could not divorce her husband.
Divorce was restricted by our Lord to the single case of
adultery (Matt. 19:3-9). The duties of husbands and wives in
their relations to each other are distinctly set forth in the
New Testament (1 Cor. 7:2-5; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18, 19; 1 Pet.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Wife \Wife\, n.; pl. {Wives}. [OE. wif, AS. wif; akin to OFries.
& OS. wif, D. wijf, G. weib, OHG. w[=i]b, Icel. v[=i]f, Dan.
viv; and perhaps to Skr. vip excited, agitated, inspired, vip
to tremble, L. vibrare to vibrate, E. vibrate. Cf. Tacitus,
[`` Germania'' 8]: Inesse quin etiam sanctum aliquid et
providum putant, nec aut consilia earum aspernantur aut
responsa neglegunt. Cf. {Hussy} a jade, {Woman}.]
1. A woman; an adult female; -- now used in literature only
in certain compounds and phrases, as alewife, fishwife,
goodwife, and the like. `` Both men and wives.'' --Piers

On the green he saw sitting a wife. --Chaucer.

2. The lawful consort of a man; a woman who is united to a
man in wedlock; a woman who has a husband; a married
woman; -- correlative of husband. `` The husband of one
wife.'' --1 Tin. iii. 2.

Let every one you . . . so love his wife even as
himself, and the wife see that she reverence her
husband. --Eph. v. 33.

{To give to wife}, {To take to wife}, to give or take (a
woman) in marriage.

{Wife's equity} (Law), the equitable right or claim of a
married woman to a reasonable and adequate provision, by
way of settlement or otherwise, out of her choses in
action, or out of any property of hers which is under the
jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery, for the support of
herself and her children. --Burrill.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n : a married woman; a man's partner in marriage [syn: {married
woman}] [ant: {husband}]

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