One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Frequently humorous. A gay, amorous or scheming widow.
2In full "Merry Widow hat". A kind of ornate wide-brimmed woman's hat, usually made of straw and trimmed with plumes.
3Originally US. Also in form merrywidow. A type of strapless bustier or corset, often with garters attached.
4Any of various cocktails, usually based on gin, vermouth, or both.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in Robert Copland (fl. 1505–1547), translator and printer. From merry + widow; in later use chiefly after the title of The Merry Widow (German Die Lustige Witwe), an operetta by Franz Lehár, first performed in German in Vienna, 1905, and in English in London, 1907.
Merry Widow/ˌmɛrɪ ˈwɪdəʊ/
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