NBC commentator refers to wife of gay volleyball player Larissa Franca Maestrini as 'husband'




kinda odd since “spouse” seems much more appropriate


I know in the case of my daughter in law she prefers to be refered to as my daughters wife


Most people here in Northern California use ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ if they are indeed married. If not married, then I hear ‘partner’ or ‘spouse.’ I don’t know if it is as true in other places. I think it’s still new enough that people are finding the most comfortable language.


NBC issued a statement of apology from Chris Marlowe:

“I’m sorry for the mistake today. Clearly, Liliane is Larissa’s wife.”



Strange. Not sure if he deliberately said it or just misspoke.


It’s all strange. We cannot find something simple and fitting in our language for something that can only be complex? :confused:


Hersband? :smiley:


Maybe… :rolleyes:


Etymologically, “wife” means “woman, female”, from Old English wif. The word “woman” comes from *wifman *, “female person”. “Husband” is from Old Norse husbondi, “master of the house,” literally “house-dweller,” from *hus *“house” + *bondi *“householder, dweller, freeholder, peasant”. So “wife and husband” could mean “woman and house-peasant”. :smiley:

Although “husband” is by convention gender-specific, and is so back through Old English, it doesn’t seem to be (linguistically) necessarily so from original Old Norse — it may just mean “head of the house” (a term which you might see on your W-4 without any preconceived gender).

So while a male cannot be a “wife” (unless he’s trans), a female can be a “husband” if she’s head of the household. :whacky:

The French do it more pragmatically: *Marié *(male) and Mariée (female), “[person who I] married”.


I like the French custom. It would take a bit of time for English speakers to get used to, but it might work.

On your other point, perhaps you are mis-hearing what people are using now. My lesbian friends are referring to each other as ‘my wife’. Males are referring to each other as ‘my husband.’ So gender is correct and all is well.


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