- a woman who keeps an alehouse
Origin of alewifefrom uncertain or unknown; perhaps a NW Atlantic clupeid fish (Alosa pseudoharengus) that swims up rivers to spawn in the spring: used for food and in fertilizers
Origin of alewifeOriginally North American English probably from alteration (influenced by alewife 2 because the fish's relatively big belly distinguishes it from the herring ) of obsolete English aloes, allowes a type of shad ( Alosa alosa ) from French alose shad from Old French from Late Latin alausa of Gaulish origin
- (archaic) A woman who keeps an alehouse.
- A North American fish, Clupea vernalis, of the herring family.
- A migrating North American fish, Alosa pseudoharengus.
- Any of several species similar in appearance.
Unknown. Possibly from aloof, the Indian name of a fish. See Winthrop on the culture of maize in America, “Phil Trans.” No. 142, p. 1065, and Baddam’s “Memoirs,” vol. ii. p. 131.