One who must avoid attracting negative attention or scrutiny owing to one's involved with a famous or prominent figure. Julius Caesar allegedly used the phrase "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion" to explain why he divorced his wife, Pompeia. I felt a bit like Caesar's wife after seeing how much scrutiny my every action gets because of my husband's newfound success.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Caesar's wifea person who is required to be above suspicion.
This expression comes ultimately from Plutarch 's account of Julius Caesar 's decision to divorce his wife Pompeia . The libertine Publius Clodius , who was in love with Pompeia, smuggled himself into the house in which the women of Caesar's household were celebrating a festival, thereby causing a scandal. Caesar refused to bring charges against Clodius, but divorced Pompeia; when questioned he replied ‘I thought my wife ought not even to be under suspicion’.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
A woman whose ethics should not be questioned. A Roman emperor's wife was deemed to be above reproach; if her morals were called in question, it was a serious problem to her husband's image and political and social power. The phrase came down over the centuries to be applied to any woman, married to a leader or not, whose behavior was—or should be—beyond criticism. (According to the historian Suetonius, what Julius Caesar actually said translates as “My wife should be as much free from suspicion of a crime as she is from a crime itself.”)
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price