A wife is a married woman. "Married" means that the law says two people are legally "joined". During the marriage ceremony, the wife is called the bride.
In countries and times it has been different how many wives a man can have legally. In old times there were no limitations in some countries. In Christianity a man can have one wife. In Islam a man can have up to four wives.
There are some names for special kinds of wives. For example, a queen is a wife of a king.
A man whose wife is deceased is called a widower.
Images for kids
The Merchant's Wife (1918) by Boris Kustodiev
A young bride at her Nikah.
Non marital by countries.gif
Percentage of births to unmarried women, selected countries, 1980 and 2007.
Inca woman and man to be stoned for adultery, by Huamán Poma
A white gold wedding ring and a single-diamond, gold-banded engagement ring. In many cultures, wives show their marital status through various symbols.
A traditional, formal presentation of the bride price at a Thai engagement ceremony.