from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The female head of a household.
  • noun Used formerly as a courtesy title before the surname of a married woman not of noble birth.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The mistress of a household; woman of the house: correlative of goodman.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Archaic The mistress of a house.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective .
  • noun obsolete A female head of a household


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • There’s always a woman who weaves beautifully, a goodwife who can dye like a dream, and maybe even a spinning wheel.

    Fairyland Chapter Seven

  • Rather than being a term for a “goodwife,” it now means someone who is too prim and proper to be real.

    Goody Two Shoes | Diane Duane's weblog: "Out of Ambit"

  • “Lady goodwife,” said Lucinda haughtily, ignoring the angry clack of Lafcadio snapping his beak in her ear, “We shall require food and lodging for the night.”

    From The Valley Of Lost Projects: Princess Lucinda And The Missing Moon

  • He finally managed to purchase a day-old loaf from a baker and some cheese from a village goodwife the baker had recommended.

    Crown of Earth

  • I resided for two or three days at a farmhouse in the neighbourhood, where the aged goodwife was well acquainted with the history of the castle, and the events which had taken place in it.

    The Bride of Lammermoor

  • It is not necessary we should be equally minute in describing the sleeping apartment of the Master of Ravenswood, which was that usually occupied by the goodman and goodwife themselves.

    The Bride of Lammermoor

  • “Well, goodwife, I see you will believe no good of this Chrystal of yours, till he comes back and buys a good farm on the estate, and makes you his housekeeper.”

    Chronicles of the Canongate

  • “MacTurk?” repeated Meg, with an emphasis, which induced the owner of the name to reply, “Yes, honest woman — MacTurk — Hector MacTurk — have you any objections to my name, goodwife?”

    Saint Ronan's Well

  • “Aweel, and I trust he is not at his auld tricks again, goodwife?” answered the Clerk.

    Saint Ronan's Well

  • The goodwife shall scream and rush forth from the house, — clutch her children along!

    Peer Gynt


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