Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Wife

 Wie’land (2 syl.).Wig. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
is from the verb to weave. (Saxon wefan, Danish vœve, German weben, whence weib, a woman, one who works at the distaff.) Woman is called the distaff. Hence Dryden calls Anne “a distaff on the throne.” While a girl was spinning her wedding clothes she was simply a spinster; but when this task was done, and she was married, she became a wife, or one who had already woven her allotted task.   1
   Alfred, in his will, speaks of his male and female descendants as those of the spear-side and those of the spindle-side, a distinction still observed by the Germans; and hence the effigies on graves of spears and spindles.   2

 Wie’land (2 syl.).Wig. 


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.