1. The wife of a householder; the mistress of a family; the female head of a household. He a good husband, a good housewife she. (Dryden)
2. [See hussy, in this sense] a little case or bag for materials used in sewing, and for other articles of female work; called also hussy.
alternative forms: huswife.
3. A hussy. [Usually written huswife] sailors housewife, a ditty-bag.
Origin: house _ wife. Cf. Hussy.