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Housewife or Huswife (the latter the more usual spelling; Ff only three times “housewife:” As I, 2, 34. H8 III, 1, 24. Oth. I, 3, 273. Qq only in Oth. II, 1, 113) 1) a woman skilled in female business and superintending the concerns of a family: Sonn. 143, 1. Mids. II, 1, 37. As I, 2, 34. IV, 3, 27. Alls II, 2, 62. Tw. I, 3, 109. H8 III, 1, 24. Cor. I, 3, 76. Rom. IV, 2, 43. Tim. IV, 3, 423. Oth. I, 3, 273. Cymb. III, 2, 79. IV, 2, 45.
2) a hussy: “doth Fortune play the h. with me now?” H5 V, 1, 85. “sung those tunes to the overscutched --ves,” H4B III, 2, 341 (not in Ff). “--ves in your beds,” Oth. II, 1, 113. “a h. that by selling her desires buys herself bread and clothes,” IV, 1, 95. “that the false h. Fortune break her wheel,” Ant. IV, 15, 44 (but cf. As I, 2, 34).
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