While watching the following video by Buzzfeed, entitled $1 Sushi Vs. $133 Sushi • Japan, one of the guests invited on the culinary road trip, a Japanese woman, used the expression “work wife”.
Stephen: Where we're goin' next Andrew?
Andrew: So next we're on our way to a place called Shun Sushi, is that right? [Rie: “I'm here”] And it comes recommended by one of our colleagues named Hitomi, actually.
Rie: Yep, my work wife
Andrew: Your work wife?
Rie: Yeah so this restaurant is neighbourhood sushi joint. Somewhere you wanna go once in a while when you're craving sushi.
In my naivete, and never having heard this expression before in my life, I thought Rie had a romantic partner with whom she worked. Instead, a little sleuthing revealed that a work wife or a work husband (note the absence of the present participle suffix -ing) is someone who works with you in close proximity. In other words, more than a co-worker or a normal colleague but not somebody you're actually married to. A BBC article defines it as “…‘work spouse’, a significant, but platonic, other whom you pair up with at the office.” and they throw in a few statistics for good measure
Career website Vault.com found that every year since 2010 about 30% of the people they surveyed said they had a ‘work spouse’, with the exception of 2013 when that share jumped to 44%.
Having a ‘work spouse’ makes you happier, 7 November 2016
I would like to know how common this term is in the UK and in the US. Is it used among informal or in business settings?
When did workers begin calling their closest work colleagues a work husband or work wife?
If I really had a spouse with whom I worked, what would I call him or her? My working partner? My partner and work spouse?