Husband: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A newly wed husband.

A husband is a male spouse, or participant in a marriage.


Origin and etymology

The term husband refers to Middle English huseband, from Old English hūsbōnda, from Old Norse hūsbōndi (hūs, house + bōndi, būandi, present participle of būa, to dwell, so etymologically, a householder, ).[1]

Related terms

A male attains the role of husband once he has participated as the groom in a wedding ceremony, becoming married to at least one other person. His partner, if female, was known during the ceremony as his bride, and in marriage she is also called his wife.

Although “husband” seems to be a close term to groom, the latter is a male participant in a wedding ceremony, while a husband is a married man after the wedding, during his marriage.The term husband refers to the institutionalized role of the married male, while the term father refers to the male in context of his offspring, a state which may or may not indicate that a marriage ceremony has taken place.

Before the marriage, he or his family may have received a dowry, or have had to pay a bride price, or both were exchanged. The dowry not only supported the establishment of a household, but also served as a condition that if the husband committed grave offences upon his wife, the dowry had to be returned to the wife or her family; for the time of the marriage, they were made inalienable by the husband.[2] When the husband dies, he might leave his wife (or wives), then widow (or widows), a dower (often a third or a half of his estate) to support her as dowager.[3]

Husband further refers to the institutionalized form in relation to the spouse and offspring, unlike father, a term that puts a man into the context of his children. Also compare the similar husbandry, which in the 14th century referred to the care of the household, but today means the “control or judicious use of resources”, conservation, and in agriculture, the cultivation of plants and animals, and the science about its profession.[4]

Western culture

Historical status

In premodern times (ancient Roman, medieval, and early modern history), a husband was supposed to protect and support not only his wife and children, but servants and animals of his domain, and the father (as the “patron”) was awarded with much authority, differing from that of his wife.[5]

In the Middle Ages and Early Modern European history, it was unusual to marry out of love, but then doing so became an influential ideal.[6][7] During this period, a husband had more opportunities in society than his wife, who was not recognized as legally independent.[8]

Contemporary status

In contemporary Christian or secularized Western culture, the rights of wife and husband have been made equal; although in regard to husbands leaving their families, the civil marriage generally forces them to provide alimony for his former spouse even after separation and also after a divorce (see also Law and divorce around the world). This law, however, also applies to women if she is wealthier than the spouse she divorces from.

The legal status of marriage allows the husband and his spouse to speak on each other’s behalf when one is incapacitated (e.g., in a coma); a husband is also responsible for his wife’s child(ren) in states where he is automatically assumed to be the biological father.[9]

As an external symbol to show his status as a married man, a husband commonly wears his wedding ring on the ring finger; whether on the left or right hand, depends on the country’s tradition.


In Islamic marital jurisprudence, husbands are considered protectors of the household and their wives. As protector, the husband has various rights and obligations that he is expected to fulfill and thus is offered opportunities different to that of his wife or wives, not only in legal and economical affairs of the family but within the family as well.

One particular example of this is the husband's duty in mending the ways of the wife in cases of rebellious behaviour towards the Laws of God, Verse 34 of an-Nisa says the husband should urge his wife to mend her ways, and if verbal requests for this are not complied, then to refuse to share their beds as admonition, and as a final resort to 'lightly strike them', even though this is a disliked practice.[10] However, contrary to popular misinterpretation, this ruling does not give the husband the right to beat his wife at his whim, and this is shown by the passage “the Prophet (s) said: ‘Do not beat your wife’ and ‘Do not strike your wife in the face.’”[11]

In contemporary times a husband is married to only one wife and in most religions, marrying a second time while the first wife is alive is considered illegal; Islam is the only major religion that has still retained the practice of allowing up to four wives per husband - provided the husband can do justice to all of them. Islam vehemently abhors any intimate relationship outside the bond of marriage.

Domestic violence is relatively common in some predominantly Muslim countries, with, for instance, over half of all Palestinian Muslim women reporting being beaten in the previous year.[12] The World Health Organisation reports that domestic violence is more common countries with Muslim majorities.[13]

On the other hand, progressive Muslims today may also agree on a perfectly equal relationship.[14]

There is no external sign to show his status as a husband, unless he adopted the tradition of wearing a wedding ring.


In marriages in Hinduism, a Hindu husband traditionally took his wife to his home, hardly ever to return to her family. As a result, he was expected to provide for her and to prove his abilities to do so. The marriage before modernity was a contract between families, similar to the Western (then: European) marriage.

In our times, equal rights for women and a modern jurisdiction have offered marriage out of love and civil marriage, different from the traditional arranged marriages.

The Britannica mentions that “In Hindu law, the male members of a joint family, together with their wives, widows, and children, are entitled to support out of the joint property.”[15]

In Britannica’s article on the family, the Indian Nāyar system is regarded as separating the two phases of Hindu marriage and two or more of the roles normally ascribed to a Hindu husband. Among other Hindus (and indeed among the Nāyars today), the tali-tier and the lover are reported to be the same person, whereas in the past the Nāyars held these two roles to be distinct.[16]

Buddhism and Chinese folk religions

China’s family laws were changed by the Communist revolution; and in 1950, the People’s Republic of China enacted a comprehensive marriage law including provisions giving the spouses equal rights with regard to ownership and management of marital property.[17]

Other cultures

In Japan, before enactment of the Meiji Civil Code of 1898, all of the woman’s property such as land or money passed to her husband except for personal clothing and a mirror stand.[18]

See also


  1. ^ American Heritage Dictionary on “husband”
  2. ^ Britannica 2005, dowry
  3. ^ dower - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
  5. ^ Greek, Germanic and Roman laws compared by Theodor Mommsen
  6. ^ Stephanie Coontz on “classic marriage”
  7. ^ William C. Horne, Making a heaven of hell: the problem of the companionate ideal in English marriage, poetry, 1650-1800 Athens (Georgia), 1993
  8. ^ William Blackstone, Commentaries upon the Laws of England
  9. ^ Cuckoo’s egg in the nest, Spiegel 07, 2007
  10. ^ Ibn Kathir, “Tafsir of Ibn Kathir”, Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 2000, 50-53
  11. ^ Drhi hoeee, Damascus, there is one more saying by prophet (s) said: "The best person is among you who is the best with his wife or wives".Responsibilities of a husband
  12. ^ WHO | WHO Multi-country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women
  13. ^ WHO | Gender-based violence
  14. ^ Heba G. Kotb M.D., Sexuality in Islam, PhD Thesis, Maimonides University, 2004
  15. ^ Britannica, Economic aspects of family law (from family law)
  16. ^ Britannica, Universality of the family (from family)
  17. ^ Britannica 2004, Legal limitations on marriage (from family law)
  18. ^ Britannica, Legal limitations on marriages (from family law)


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Husbands article)

From Wikiquote

A husband is a male spouse, or participant in a marriage.


  • Married men make the best husbands.
    • James Huneker
  • Husbands love your wives and, and be not bitter against them.
    • Colossian
  • God give me a rich husband, though he be an ass.
    • Thomas Fuller, "Gromologia"

See also

External links

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Wiktionary has an entry about husbands.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HUSBAND, properly the "head of a household," but now chiefly used in the sense of a man legally joined by marriage to a woman, his "wife"; the legal relations between them are treated below under Husband And Wife. The word appears in O. Eng. as hiisbonda, answering to the Old Norwegian husbondi, and means the owner or freeholder of a hus, or house. The last part of the word still survives in "bondage" and "bondman," and is derived from bua, to dwell, which, like Lat. colere, means also to till or cultivate, and to have a household. "Wife," in O. Eng. wif, appears in all Teutonic languages except Gothic; cf. Ger. Weib, Dutch wijf, &c., and meant originally simply a female, "woman" itself being derived from wifman, the pronunciation of the plural wimmen still preserving the original i. Many derivations of "wife" have been given; thus it has been connected with the root of "weave," with the Gothic waibjan, to fold or wrap up, referring to the entangling clothes worn by a woman, and also with the root of vibrare, to tremble. These are all merely guesses, and the ultimate history of the word is lost. It does not appear outside Teutonic languages. Parallel to "husband" is "housewife," the woman managing a household. The earlier huswif was pronounced hussif, and this pronunciation survives in the application of the word to a small case containing scissors, needles and pins, cottons, &c. From this form also derives "hussy," now only used in a depreciatory sense of a light, impertinent girl. Beyond the meaning of a husband as a married man, the word appears in connexion with agriculture, in "husbandry" and "husbandman." According to some authorities "husbandman" meant originally in the north of England a holder of a "husbandmad," a manorial tenant who held two ox-gangs or virgates, and ranked next below the yeoman (see J. C. Atkinson in Notes and Queries, 6th series, vol. xii., and E. Bateson, History of Northumberland, ii., 1893). From the idea of the manager of a household, "husband" was in use transferred to the manager of an estate, and the title was held by certain officials, especially in the great trading companies. Thus the "husband" of the East India Company looked after the interests of the company at the custom-house. The word in this sense. is practically obsolete, but it still appears in "ship's husband," an agent of the owners of a ship who looks to the proper equipping of the vessel, and her repairs, procures and adjusts freights, keeps the accounts, makes charter-parties and acts generally as manager of the ship's employment. Where such an agent is himself one of the owners of the vessel, the name of "managing owner" is used. The "ship's husband" or "managing owner" must register his name and address at the port of registry (Merchant Shipping Act 18 94, § 59). From the use of "husband" for a good and thrifty manager of a household, the verb "to husband" means to economize, to lay up a store, to save.

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

i.e., the "house-band," connecting and keeping together the whole family. A man when betrothed was esteemed from that time a husband (Mt 1:16, 20; Lk 2:5). A recently married man was exempt from going to war for "one year" (Deut 20:7; 24:5).

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

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