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I know the word uxorious that is used to describe a husband who dotes on his wife excessively. What is the corresponding word for a wife who loves her husband dearly? I cannot pull anything out of my memory... and I feel it is very harsh on men if such a word weren't there!

Example:

  • He was an uxorious man who assiduously took care of all of his wife's needs.
  • She was a __ woman who assiduously took care of all of her husband's needs.
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Are you sure that uxorious is that gender-specific? I've never heard that word. I suppose for females doting on males excessively you could use the word "clingy", but I don't think that's exactly the right word, and may have negative connotations... –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner May 18 '12 at 15:55
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Uxorious is gender specific, yes. Here's a cached copy of a discussion on this topic suggesting there is no direct antonym. The main site appeared down/broken for me at the time of this response. webcache.googleusercontent.com/… –  Charles W May 18 '12 at 15:58
    
@CharlesW: Oh, wow. I searched on Google, but couldn't find an answer. Maritorious reminds me of mariticide, the opposite of uxoricide. –  Bravo May 18 '12 at 16:01
    
Can you give an example? I mean to say, in real life is there an instance where you've heard this phenomenon actually occurs? –  Mitch May 18 '12 at 16:35
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@horatio: maritorious is an "invented" word because it has no meaningful currency, and was probably coined by someone with a sociological axe to grind regarding the lack of a female equivalent to uxorious. That being a word which was far more relevant to earlier ages/other societies where it would often be seen as a serious character defect in a man to be preoccupied with anything so unimportant as a wife. Contexts where the wife would be expected to be totally devoted to her husband, since without him she might not even be able to survive at all. –  FumbleFingers Oct 4 '12 at 17:23
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7 Answers 7

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The OED has "maritorious", but it is marked as "nonce-wd.", so it's pretty rare.

1978 P. Howard Weasel Words xliv. 166 ‘My husband and I’, is felt to be‥charmingly whatever adjective is the wifely feminine of uxorious. The adjective you are looking for is the extremely rare word ‘maritorious’.

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Note that this would possibly be confused for a misspelling of 'meritorious' or just misunderstood to be that word, especially if used in speech. I agree that this is the best answer, though, and would only suggest phrases or longer descriptions as a possible improvement, which is not what the OP was asking for. –  Charles W May 18 '12 at 16:01
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There once was a man most uxorious,/ Who was married to a dame quite maritorious,/ This suited them fine as they wined and they dined,/ And produced five offspring all rubicund! From shepherdsgrace.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/… –  Bill Lefurgy May 18 '12 at 20:48
    
dames maritorious ne'er were meritorious George Chapman, "Bussy D'ambois" II 84. –  Kris Dec 25 '13 at 9:55
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There is no corresponding term because in our common understanding a woman cannot be too doting on a man -- in fact, doting and overly attentive has long been the norm (though perhaps things are beginning to change just a bit). In other words, it is not an aberration, not even considered a phenomenon, and therefore requires no word.

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"Muxorious" is now uncommon, but still to be heard in the Ascension Islands.

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Sounds interesting. Can you cite anything in support or maybe some examples? –  Kris Dec 25 '13 at 9:41
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When I Googled muxorious just now, every hit was actually pointing to "I'm uxorious", save one – and that one was this answer to this question. –  J.R. Dec 25 '13 at 14:35
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Note that to say a man is uxorious is not a compliment. I checked several dictionaries and all define it as "excessively ...", "foolishly ...", or with similar negative words.

This page, http://www.myfavoriteword.com/2008/01/04/uxorious/, says that there is no equivalent that switches the genders. I have no idea how reliable that site is or how much research the author did, but at least it indicates that someone made some effort to find a reverse word and concluded there was none.

I can see how logically, for most people for most of history, there might be no logical opposite. A wife was expected to be at least somewhat submissive to and doting on her husband. Calling a man "uxorious" is saying that he is inappropriately playing the woman's role in the relationship. It wouldn't make sense to say that a woman was inappropriately acting like a woman. Okay, you could say that she takes what in moderation is considered a positive trait and carries it too far, but that's not the same thing. I'm speculating wildly here, but it sounds plausible to me. :-)

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There is no such word because there is no such thing. :)

Seriously, though, the word was probably never formed because people could not conceive of a wife being too devoted.

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I would go with a construction rather than trying to find an extant word or phrase. Something like 'fawning and empty' or 'vapidly doting' or 'sickeningly affectionate' depending on context.

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Obsequious comes to mind. It is defined as: "marked by or exhibiting a fawning attentiveness." However, it is not gender-specific, as uxorious is. The context would have to be clear that you were speaking about a wife.

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