pl; Wives . [OE. Wif, AS. Wif; akin to OFries. & OS. Wif, D. Wijf, G. Weib, OHG. Wib, Icel. Vif, 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. 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. 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, 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.