One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A woman whose husband is away often or for a prolonged period.‘grass widows parted from their husbands by golf or similar obsessional activities’
- ‘She waited until the lights of Freetown had disappeared below the horizon, and then she quickly organised herself as the centre of the gayest, noisiest group of grass widows and unattached bachelors on the ship.’
- ‘His wife filed suit for divorce, charging that he kissed a grass widow at the hotel.’
- ‘Remarriage or the establishment of an independent household was not a possibility for all ‘grass widows,’ a popular term for deserted and divorced women.’
- ‘For female migrants from Korea, astronaut spouses are also referred to as ‘grass widows’.’
- ‘Because John traveled for his work as a steamfitter, Eliza apparently experienced life as a grass widow more than once.’
Early 16th century (denoting an unmarried woman with a child): from grass + widow, perhaps from the idea of the couple having lain on the grass instead of in bed. The current sense dates from the mid 19th century; compare with Dutch grasweduwe and German Strohwitwe ‘straw widow’.
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