Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A man joined to a woman in marriage; a male spouse.
  • n. Chiefly British A manager or steward, as of a household.
  • n. Archaic A prudent, thrifty manager.
  • transitive v. To use sparingly or economically; conserve: husband one's energy.
  • transitive v. Archaic To find a husband for.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The master of a house; the head of a family; a householder.
  • n. A tiller of the ground; a husbandman.
  • n. A prudent or frugal manager.
  • n. A man in a marriage or marital relationship, especially in relation to his spouse.
  • n. A manager of property; one who has the care of another's belongings, owndom, or interests; a steward; an economist.
  • n. Large cushion with arms meant to support a person in the sitting position.
  • n. A polled tree; a pollard.
  • v. To manage or administer carefully and frugally; use to the best advantage; economise.
  • v. To conserve.
  • v. To till; cultivate; farm; nurture.
  • v. To provide with a husband.
  • v. To engage or act as a husband to; assume the care of or responsibility for; accept as one's own.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The male head of a household; one who orders the economy of a family.
  • n. A cultivator; a tiller; a husbandman.
  • n. One who manages or directs with prudence and economy; a frugal person; an economist.
  • n. A married man; a man who has a wife; -- the correlative to wife.
  • n. The male of a pair of animals.
  • transitive v. To direct and manage with frugality; to use or employ to good purpose and the best advantage; to spend, apply, or use, with economy.
  • transitive v. To cultivate, as land; to till.
  • transitive v. To furnish with a husband.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The master of a house; the head of a family; a householder.
  • n. A man joined in marriage to a woman, who bears the correlative title of wife.
  • n. A tiller of the ground; a husbandman.
  • n. A manager of property; one who has the care of another's belongings or interests; a steward; an economist.
  • n. A polled tree; a pollard: so called in humorous allusion to the traditional bald head of husbands with energetic wives.
  • To manage or administer carefully and frugally; use to the best advantage; economize: as, to husband one's resources.
  • To till, as land; cultivate; farm.
  • To provide with a husband.
  • To engage or act as a husband to; figuratively, to assume the care of or responsibility for; accept as one's own.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a married man; a woman's partner in marriage
  • v. use cautiously and frugally

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English huseband, from Old English hūsbōnda, from Old Norse hūsbōndi : hūs, house + bōndi, būandi, householder, present participle of būa, to dwell.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English husbonde, from Old English hūsbonda, hūsbunda ("male head of a household, householder, master of a house"), probably from Old Norse húsbóndi ("master of house"), from hús ("house") + bóndi ("dweller, householder"), equivalent to house +‎ bond (“serf, slave”). Cognate with Icelandic húsbóndi ("head of household"), Faroese húsbóndi ("husband"), Norwegian husbond ("head of household, husband"), Swedish husbonde ("master"), Danish husbonde ("husband").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English husbonden, from husbonde ("master of a house"). See above.

Examples

Comments

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  • Desdemona was propped up, regally, against a beige corduroy cushion known as a husband. The arms of this cushion encircled her.

    —Jeffrey Eugenides, 2002, Middlesex, p. 523

    August 17, 2008

  • Aha! No doubt sweetmeat will prove to have started life as a playful alternative to helpmeet, and from there it's just a hop, skip and jump to sweetbreads. Told you so.

    Thanks, sionnach!

    May 8, 2008

  • Asativum:

    Helpmate is indeed related to helpmeet, as the following etymology shows:

    "companion," 1715, a ghost word, altered from helpmeet, from the Biblical translation of L. adjutorium simile sibi (Gen. ii.18) as "an help meet (i.e. fit) for him" (Heb. 'ezer keneghdo), which was already by 1673 being printed as help-meet and mistaken for one word.

    Getting from helpmate to sweetbread requires not one, but two, knight's moves. Another example of why I love wordie-members so much.

    Pterodactyl:

    Don't forget that another rhyme for 'wife' is its Cockney slang version 'trouble and strife'.

    May 8, 2008

  • How about "The Man of the House". That has a ring to it.

    I actually like hubby - it's familiar, casual & warm. Has a sense of sweet possessiveness to it - he's my hubby.

    May 8, 2008

  • Helpmate sounds like helpmeet, which sounds like sweetmeat, which always makes me think of sweetbreads. Blech. I mean, sweetbreads are tasty, cooked right, but not very husbandly. To me.

    OK. Sorry. Back to your thread.

    May 8, 2008

  • Ouch, ouch!

    May 8, 2008

  • Do you realise that if you have a biblical helpmate you can never have children the normal way? You have to begat instead.

    May 8, 2008

  • I defer to sionnach; "helpmate" IS better. And I like the biblical tone it lends.

    May 8, 2008

  • How about 'helpmate'? 'Lover' conjures up images of perpetually mortified children, not to mention jacuzzi scenes on Saturday Night Live.

    May 7, 2008

  • In my opinion, "hubby" is no good. I would never call my husband that. It's like him calling me his "gal". We prefer "lover".

    May 7, 2008

  • I sort of like hubby, actually. I think it's sweet.

    May 7, 2008

  • "Hubby" should be banned; I agree.

    May 7, 2008

  • I'd probably marry the next woman who promised not to call me hubby in this or the subsequent thousand lifetimes.

    May 7, 2008

  • Continuing the conversation that has, bewilderingly, popped up over on pterodactyl on the rise...

    I really don't like the word husband. It sounds like a Dr. Seuss character.

    As Yertle looked out over lands never seen,

    He saw thousands of Huzz-Buns, all mottled and green

    Wife, by contrast, is airy and pleasant, rather like fife or life. Why couldn't we menfolk have come up with an equally pleasant term for our own married state?

    May 7, 2008