I know a man who when addressing his wife calls her [for example] Mrs Doe as opposed to 'Jane' or 'Honey' [he does this when he is home too]. This person is very religious and what some might call 'Chareidi', I was wondering if it had anything to do with religion or if maybe it's just a 'thing'.

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    There's a tradition to not call your mother by her name out of respect, but this is the first I've heard for a wife. Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 3:18
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    I observed that R. Berish Shapiro, the Naroler Rav of Brooklyn (now, I guess, the Naroler Rav, since his father passed away several years ago), never called his wife by her first name in my hearing. But I have no reason to think he avoided doing so in private. Note also that quite a few religious-right publications (or pieces in them) have their authorship attributed to a first initial and a last name.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 4:23
  • jokes4us.com/kiddiejokes/oldcouplejoke.html Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 13:51
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    I know a guy who calls his wife "Mommy." I think he does this even when his kids aren't around. Also his kids are grown-up.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 15:14
  • @Daniel We never met. But besides having the same 1st name, it's a bit too co-incidental that you mention something that I do often. I usually call my wife "Mom". Besides out of respect and admiration to her "role", I developed it as a habit myself as I didn't want to confuse my kids and have them accidentally call their mother by her 1st name. My wife also calls me "Abba". So, I think the idea goes for wives not using their husbands' first names. It's a good practice, I think.
    – DanF
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


נטעי גבריאל, in הלכות נשואין, volume 2, chapter 118, section 8, footnote 11, cites the מהרי״ל‬ (biographical information):

שכשהיה קורא לאשתו אמר בלשון‬ ‫אשכנז הער״ט איר ניט כדרך העולם שהזיווגים אין מזכירין שמותיהן‬ ‫כשקורין זה את זו או זו את זה‬

Or, in my own translation with help from Gershon Gold:

When he would call his wife, he'd say in German[1] "Did you not hear", in accordance with the way the world acts, that couples calling one another don't mention one another's names.

[1] actually some dialect of what we now call Early New High German, I suppose

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    הער״ט איר ניט [herrt irr nitt] is normal Yiddish today, although נישט [nisht] is supplanting ניט [nitt] west of the Atlantic.
    – Adám
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 19:31
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    Maharil had an interesting relationship with that wife. They were both widowers. He didn't live at home, he lived next door in the yeshiva. He never benefited from her choosing to rather live off communal money. And if I recall correctly when he referred to her, he called her his 'house wife'.
    – user6591
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 17:44

In Mas. Shabbos on daf 118b it says: Reb Yossi never called his wife "wife". He called her "my house". From this gemora I think it's the minhag not to call the wife by her name.

אמר רבי יוסי: מימי לא קריתי לאשתי אשתי ולשורי שורי אלא לאשתי ביתי ולשורי שדי

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    So why call her Mrs. Doe instead of My House? (Rashi: אשתי ביתי. שהיא עיקר של בית) Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 14:36
  • doesnt say why he did this or whether it is recommended for others
    – michael
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 14:44
  • I don't see how this Gemara is at all related to not calling your wife by her first name. And certainly doesn't directly relate to what you call her in private.
    – Chaim
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 15:05
  • @Danny if they would've had last names, Reb Yosi might have called her by that title. IIRC Maharil called his wife 'my house wife'.
    – user6591
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 15:06
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    I understood it to mean that that whenever referring to his wife he would say 'my house' Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 22:44

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