As I am learning about the law, everything pivots on the use of words in language. Words which we use to define ones self also define how we experience and process those experiences in our life world and affairs. The law of language doesn’t care about our ignorant use of words but the users of language and words may benefit by caring mucho! For example: Some women are wife to husbands, some men are spouse to women, some men and women are wed to mates. Check out the etymology…
c. 1500, “to equal, rival,” 1590s as “to match, couple, marry, join in marriage,” from mate (n.1). Also, of animals, “to pair for the purpose of breeding.” Related: Mated; mating.
Old English husbonda “male head of a household, master of a house, householder,” probably from Old Norse husbondi “master of the house,” literally “house-dweller,” from hus “house” (see house (n.)) + bondi “householder, dweller, freeholder, peasant,” from buandi, present participle of bua “to dwell” (from PIE root *bheue- “to be, exist, grow,” and compare bond (adj.)). Beginning late 13c. it replaced Old English wer as “married man (in relation to his wife)” and became the companion word of wife, a sad loss for English poetry. Slang shortening hubby first attested 1680s.
Middle English wif, wyf, from Old English wif (neuter) “woman, female, lady,” also, but not especially, “wife,” from Proto-Germanic *wiban (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian wif, Old Norse vif, Danish and Swedish viv, Middle Dutch, Dutch wijf, Old High German wib, German Weib), of uncertain origin, not found in Gothic.
Apparently felt as inadequate in its basic sense, leading to the more distinctive formation wifman (source of woman). Dutch wijf now means, in slang, “girl, babe,” having softened somewhat from earlier sense of “bitch.” The Modern German cognate (Weib) also tends to be slighting or derogatory; Middle High German wip in early medieval times was “woman, female person,” vrouwe (Frau) being retained for “woman of gentle birth, lady;” but from c. 1200 wip “took on a common, almost vulgar tone that restricted its usage in certain circles” and largely has been displaced by Frau.
literally “betrothed,” from masc. and fem. past participle of spondere “to bind oneself, promise solemnly,” from PIE *spend- “to make an offering, perform a rite.
Old English weddian “to pledge oneself, covenant to do something, vow; betroth, marry,” also “unite (two other people) in a marriage, conduct the marriage ceremony,” from Proto-Germanic *wadi-(source also of Old Norse veðja, Danish vedde “to bet, wager,” Old Frisian weddia “to promise,” Gothic ga-wadjon “to betroth”), from PIE root *wadh- (1) “to pledge, to redeem a pledge” (source also of Latin vas, genitive vadis “bail, security,” Lithuanian vaduoti “to redeem a pledge”).
The sense has remained closer to “pledge” in other Germanic languages (such as German Wette “a bet, wager”); development to “marry” is unique to English. “Originally ‘make a woman one’s wife by giving a pledge or earnest money’, then used of either party” [Buck]. Passively, of two people, “to be joined as husband and wife,” from c. 1200.
c. 1300, “to give (offspring) in marriage,” from Old French marier “to get married; to marry off, give in marriage; to bring together in marriage,” from Latin maritare “to wed, marry, give in marriage” (source of Italian maritare, Spanish and Portuguese maridar), from maritus (n.) “married man, husband,” of uncertain origin, originally a past participle, perhaps ultimately from “provided with a *mari,” a young woman, from PIE root *mari- “young wife, young woman,” akin to *meryo- “young man” (source of Sanskrit marya- “young man, suitor”).
I found this article or the term “wife” interesting as well.
Which are ye?