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husband, v.

Etymology:  < husband n.

 a. trans. To till (the ground), to dress or tend (trees and plants), to manage as a husbandman; to cultivate.

c1420 [implied in: Pallad. on Husb. i. 469   Oon good poynt of husbondyng. (at husbanding n. 1)].
1545   R. Ascham Toxophilus i. f. 43v,   A good grounde..well husbanded, bringeth out great plentie of byg eared corne.
1590   R. Payne Briefe Descr. Ireland (1841) 9   To husband this farme, your tenaunt must keepe viii persons.
1652–62   P. Heylyn Cosmogr. (1682) iv. 33   Husbanding the Vallies which lie nearest to them.
1737   H. Bracken Farriery Improved iv. 41   Till such Time as the Ground be dug up and husbanded.
1876   L. Morris Epic Hades ii. (1877) 96   The grain scarce husbanded by toiling hands Upon the sunlit plain.

c1420—1876(Hide quotations)


 b. fig. To cultivate (the mind, etc.).

1639   T. B. tr. J.-P. Camus Certain Moral Relations in S. Du Verger tr. J.-P. Camus Admirable Events 197   So dexterously to husband the minde of Rogat, that he will worke him to condescend unto his desires.
1639   T. B. tr. J.-P. Camus Certain Moral Relations in S. Du Verger tr. J.-P. Camus Admirable Events 271   Whether it were that he ill husbanded the mind of [him] or whether this woman changed it.

1639—1639(Hide quotations)

 2. To administer as a good householder or steward; to manage with thrift and prudence; to use, spend, or apply economically; to make the most of; to economize; also, to save, lay by a store of.

 a. material things.

c1440   Promptorium Parvulorum 254/1   Husbondyn, or wysely dyspendyn worldely goodys.
1574   E. Hellowes tr. A. de Guevara Familiar Epist. 505   The office of the husband is, to husband the goods, and of the wife to gouerne the familie.
1587   J. Hooker Chron. Ireland 135/1 in Holinshed's Chron. (new ed.) II   That his majesties..revenues [be] well husbanded and looked unto.
1613–18   S. Daniel Coll. Hist. Eng. (1626) 106   This Arch~bishop so husbanded the Kings businesse, that..hee yeelded an account vnto him, that [etc.].
1687   A. Lovell tr. J. de Thévenot Trav. into Levant i. 166   A Jar of Brandy, which we husbanded as well as we could.
1748   B. Robins & R. Walter Voy. round World by Anson iii. ii. 309   We were obliged to husband our ammunition.
a1855   C. Brontë Professor (1857) I. iii. 36   Husbanding my monthly allowance.

c1440—a1855(Hide quotations)


 b. immaterial things.

1605   Bp. J. Hall Medit. & Vowes I. §59,   I will labour so to husband the stock that God hath left in my hands, that I may returne my soule better then I receiued it.
1639   T. Fuller Hist. Holy Warre i. vii. 10   If they had husbanded this occasion.
1742   E. Young Complaint i. 105   For human Weal, Heav'n husbands all Events.
a1792   J. Reynolds Johnson & Garrick (1816) 13   Garrick husbanded his fame.

1605—a1792(Hide quotations)


 c. with out: to economize (a thing) so that it may last out; to eke out.

1762   O. Goldsmith Citizen of World I. 63   The Dutch frugally husband out their pleasures.
1770   O. Goldsmith Deserted Village 87   To husband out life's taper at the close.

1762—1770(Hide quotations)


3. to husband it : to do household or farm work. rare. Obs.

1597   Bp. J. Hall Virgidemiarum: 1st 3 Bks. iii. i. 52   Good Saturne selfe..was not so clad of yore..Husbanding it in work-day yeomanrie.

1597—1597(Hide quotations)


 4. trans. To provide or match with a husband; to mate.

1567 [implied in: A. Golding tr. Ovid Metamorphosis (new ed.) x. f. 132,   O Atalanta, thou at all of husband hast no neede Shonne husbanding. (at husbanding n. 3)].
1602   S. Rowlands Whole Crew Kind Gossips (1609) 4,   I am husbanded with such a Clowne, 'Twould pul a merrier heart then mine is downe.
1608   J. Day Humour out of Breath sig. B3,   Wiue it for them, you shall not husband me.
1825   T. Hood Addr. to Sylvanus Urban in Odes & Addr. Great People 71   Parishioners,—hatched,—husbanded,—and wived.
1875   Tennyson Queen Mary ii. ii. 78   I am not..so amorous That I must needs be husbanded.

1567—1875(Hide quotations)


 a. To act the part of a husband to; to become the husband of, to marry.

1608   Shakespeare King Lear xxiv. 69   That were the most, if hee should husband you.
a1616   Shakespeare All's Well that ends Well (1623) v. iii. 127   You shall as easie Proue that I husbanded her bed in Florence, Where yet she neuer was.
1843   Tait's Edinb. Mag. 10 139   Husbanding his means, with the hope of ultimately husbanding a wife.
1880   G. Meredith Tragic Comedians II. vi. 106   He had been ready to perform the duty of husbanding a woman.

1608—1880(Hide quotations)


 b. fig. To ‘espouse’ (an opinion).

1883   H. H. Bancroft Hist. Central Amer. I. vi. 318 (note) ,   Nor should I deem it wise in me to husband a doctrine on this or any other palpably unprovable proposition.

1883—1883(Hide quotations)


 6. to husband it : to act or play the husband.

1608   J. Day Humour out of Breath sig. D2,   Say we desire to husband it with you.

1608—1608(Hide quotations)


This entry has not yet been fully updated (first published 1899).

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