View Full Version : Wife vs lady

20-04-12, 06:03
I received the following question in an email from a new distant cousin and my initial response was that the answer was no. After searching some records of mine and OH's family I am now not sure if I was correct as they all name a mother, except for one which actually states the woman was a heathen. Could I have opinions please?

I was searching through the Bengal Directories 1843-1847 for W's birth and was surprised that so many entries said "by the lady of"
instead the "by the wife of". I presume that the use of "lady" in this context is an important distinction to refer to an Indian mother. Would you agree?

I have always thought the wife of and the lady of were interchangable and depended on the minister recording it. Now I've been asked I'm not sure.

20-04-12, 06:22
My initial reaction is 100% "No", but I have no idea if the way of recording things was different in India.

The Times newspaper is absolutely littered with birth and death notices which use this phrase. In the earlier years of the paper (I'm looking from 1785) there are a good deal more ladies than wives (maybe three times as many!!) and I bet 99.9% were married!

20-04-12, 06:29
The third definition in the Oxford english Dictionary is:

3 (one's lady) dated a man’s wife

and their example of usage:

welcoming the vice-president and his lady

20-04-12, 06:38
Thanks Merry. Another vote to no.

I have no real knowledge of how things were done in India either, but as it was british india it seems to have been done the british way more or less.

20-04-12, 06:40
Yes, I agree with that too!

Olde Crone
20-04-12, 07:19
Agree with Merry. A native Indian woman would never have been referred to as a Lady.

(Short answer - long answer just disappeared into space)


20-04-12, 07:24
That's a very good point OC. Thank you.