Definition of common-law wife noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

common-law wife

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˌkɒmən lɔː ˈwaɪf//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˌkɑːmən lɔː ˈwaɪf//
 
Marriage
 
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a woman that a person has lived with for a long time and who is recognized (in some countries though not the UK) as a wife, without a formal marriage ceremony See related entries: Marriage
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: common-law wife