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5 definitions found
 for wife
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Wife \Wife\, n.; pl. Wives. [OE. wif, AS. wif; akin to OFries.
     & OS. wif, D. wijf, G. weib, OHG. w[imac]b, Icel. v[imac]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,
     [1913 Webster]
     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
        [1913 Webster]
              On the green he saw sitting a wife.   --Chaucer.
        [1913 Webster]
     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.
        [1913 Webster]
              Let every one you . . . so love his wife even as
              himself, and the wife see that she reverence her
              husband.                              --Eph. v. 33.
        [1913 Webster]
     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.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: a married woman; a man's partner in marriage [syn: wife,
           married woman] [ant: hubby, husband, married man]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  24 Moby Thesaurus words for "wife":
     better half, bride, common-law wife, concubine, consort, dowager,
     feme, feme covert, goodwife, goody, helpmate, helpmeet, lady,
     married woman, mate, matron, old lady, old woman, other half, rib,
     spouse, squaw, wedded wife, woman

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary :

     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 Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

  WIFE, domestic relations. A woman who has a husband. 
       2. A wife, as such, possesses rights and is liable to obligations. 
  These will be considered. 1st. She may make contracts for the purchase of 
  real estate for her own benefit, unless her husband expressly dissents. 6 
  Binn. R. 427. And she is entitled to a legacy directly given to her for her 
  separate use. 6 Serg. & Rawle, R. 467. In some places, by statutory 
  provision, she may act as a feme sole trader, and as such acquire personal 
  property. 2 Serg. & Rawle, R. 289. 
       3. 2d. She may in Pennsylvania, and in most other states, convey her 
  interest in her own or her husband's lands by deed acknowledged in a form 
  prescribed by law. 8 Dowl. R. 630. 
       4.-3d. She is under obligation to love, honor and obey her husband and 
  is bound to follow him wherever he may desire to establish himself: 5 N. S. 
  60; (it is presumed not out of the boundaries of the United States,) unless 
  the husband, by acts of injustice and such as are contrary to his marital 
  duties, renders her life or happiness insecure. 
       5.-4th. She is not liable for any obligations she enters into to pay 
  money on any contract she makes, while she lives with her husband; she is 
  presumed in such case to act as the agent of her husband. Chitty, Contr. 43 
       6.-5th. The incapacities of femes covert, apply to their civil rights, 
  and are intended for their protection and interest. Their political rights 
  stand upon different grounds, they can, therefore, acquire and lose a 
  national character. These rights stand upon the general principles of the 
  law of nations. Harp. Eq. R. 5 3 Pet. R. 242. 
       7.-6th. A wife, like all other persons, when she acts with freedom, may 
  be punished for her criminal acts. But the law presumes, when she commits in 
  his presence a crime, not malum in se, as murder or treason, that she acts 
  by the command and coercion of her husband, and, upon this ground, she is 
  exempted from punishment. Rose. on Cr. Ev. 785. But this is only a 
  presumption of law, and if it appears, upon the evidence, that she did not 
  in fact commit the act under compulsion, but was herself a principal actor 
  and inciter in it, she may be punished. 1 Hale, P. C. 516; 1 Russ. on Cr. 
  16, 20. Vide Contract; Divorce; Husband; Incapacity; Marriage; Necessaries; 
  Parties to actions; Parties to contracts; Women and, generally, Bouv. Inst. 

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