The Latin word huswiva

Thursday, December 19, 2013

This article on the completion of a Medieval Latin dictionary (after only 100 years of effort) has an interesting note on the word housewife, which apparently made an appearance as Latin huswiva before ever being seen in English:

Some of the words of Old and Middle English that were ‘borrowed’ in the Latin language were found in earlier Latin texts than the first appearance of these words in English.

Many we still use today in a modern form, for example, the Medieval Latin huswiva corresponds to modern English housewife, found as early as 12th century Latin texts.
The word of course is Germanic, but looking at the written word alone Latin may have beat English to the chase.

Wiktionary's etymology of the word is not nearly as interesting.

house +‎ wife


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