Definition of widow in English:

widow

noun

  • 1A woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not remarried.

    • ‘After his death, his widow would receive £30 per annum for the rest of her life.’
    • ‘Although Banalata is not formally defined as a widow because she never married, she is still subject to social conventions that make her a second-class citizen.’
    • ‘His widow Margitta said his death had left a ‘great vacuum’ and she paid tribute to his optimism and warmth.’
    • ‘The tale regards the ruler as a father to the orphan, husband to the widow, brother to she who is divorced, a garment to the motherless, a just ruler who comes to the voice of those who call him.’
    • ‘If at the time of her death, a widow leaves no eligible minor child, the payment of her share of the pension will cease.’
    • ‘Upon the death of a husband, a widow chooses a husband from among the dead man's brothers.’
    • ‘The right of action for wrongful death given by statute for the benefit of a widow for the death of her husband has been held not to be divested by her subsequent marriage.’
    • ‘Should widows with sizable death benefits also be entitled to short-term relief?’
    • ‘For the five years before her death his widow had donated an annual gift of £3,000 towards Burley - unknown to many in the village.’
    • ‘After Goldensohn's death, his widow sold some of his papers and bequeathed the rest to her children.’
    • ‘Five widows who also lost sons unveiled the memorial in a brief ceremony.’
    • ‘After his death, his widow Janaki had the good sense to collect these loose sheets and send them to Hardy.’
    • ‘I'm surprised you've not served on some committee with her by now - reformed polar explorers or widows of lost seaman.’
    • ‘The narrative does not slacken with the news of Daniel's death and the widow's hopeless grief.’
    • ‘Married to a widow, Martha Dandridge Custis, he devoted himself to a busy and happy life.’
    • ‘John Carey spent his last weeks at the hospice receiving unparalleled care that gave him a dignity in death that his widow, Carol, has never forgotten.’
    • ‘On her husband's death, a widow usually foresees a life full of harassment and humiliation.’
    • ‘Following his death, his widow Ruth, who was just 27, quit Wiltshire and returned home to America.’
    • ‘They were widows, or not married, and they laid down their life for his cause.’
    • ‘Upon the death of the husband, the widow generally stays on the land, but only if she pays the sub-headman.’
    1. 1.1humorous [with modifier] A woman whose spouse is often away participating in a specified sport or activity.
      ‘a golf widow’
      • ‘The agony aunt's first quest is to help golf widow Joy to persuade husband Martin to spend more time with her and their three children.’
      • ‘Golf widows are also catered for, with shopping excursions and spa days.’
      • ‘Also, I look at my mum and see that she's a bit of a golf widow.’
      • ‘Of course, the occasional frustrated chess widow may throw a plate or two.’
      • ‘It also has superb golf courses, so if you're a bit of a golf widow, leave him to tussle in the bunker while you slink off to the spa - it's connected to the hotel by a subterranean tunnel.’
      • ‘Golfers and golf widows the world over know St Andrews, know the first tee, the 18th or home green, and the backdrop of a classic Victorian building with its Greek Thomson façade.’
      • ‘If you can't get to that point, then I'd give you the same advice I gave this hockey widow, only in fishing language.’
      • ‘Sports widows will probably relate to Lindsey's plight, and long-suffering fans of many teams will see reflections of themselves in Ben.’
      • ‘Last Monday, I told my girlfriends at work that this whole football widow business was driving me crazy.’
      • ‘Golf widows will be relieved to hear that it doesn't come with free membership’
      • ‘I sneakily bought some good tickets months ago and they are coming into play to thank her for being such a good rugby widow sport during this world cup.’
      • ‘For golf widows, there will be a five-star Four Seasons hotel and spa that will act as an informal private club for residents.’
  • 2Printing
    A last word or short last line of a paragraph falling at the top of a page or column and considered undesirable.

    • ‘So I saved the space by killing all the widow lines; I could cut a word and save a line. The next day I couldn't bear to read my own words.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]usually as adjective widowed
  • Make into a widow or widower.

    ‘she had to care for her widowed mother’
    • ‘Add to that women who are divorced or widowed and there are now almost as many single women as there are married.’
    • ‘They are widowed, or have never married, and are generally childless.’
    • ‘She has herself been recently widowed and come to the conclusion that Horace and his fortune will make her the perfect mate.’
    • ‘Those who were widowed were free to re-marry; this was an entirely different issue.’
    • ‘Life Loan is available to married couples, partners and single or widowed people.’
    • ‘At the moment, the group is small and comprises people who are divorced, separated or widowed.’
    • ‘Weir, who was known as Peggy to her neighbours, was widowed 10 years ago.’
    • ‘He could have used the same tone of voice to convey his sympathies to a recently widowed aunt.’
    • ‘Now widowed in her early 50s, she faces the future with some anxiety, despite the growing success of her work.’
    • ‘His old lovers are a mix of married, single and widowed women who lead a mix of uptight, safe, and slightly loopy lives.’
    • ‘The male is considered the head of the household, except where it is headed by a divorced or widowed woman.’
    • ‘Minus One is a social support group for separated, widowed or divorced people.’
    • ‘Women were also divided, with single and widowed women claiming a prior right to employment over married women.’
    • ‘The first time my mother was widowed, she was left with six male dependents.’
    • ‘PC Collis said the typical victim was female, aged about 70, and often recently widowed.’
    • ‘She was surprisingly shy, considering the bold way she had recruited April as a foster mother when she became widowed.’
    • ‘Fewer women are being chased from their homestead and land when widowed.’
    • ‘Lennox had been widowed in 1986 when her husband Tom died at the age of 61 after a long illness.’
    • ‘His reformist thinking was evident when he arranged for the remarriage of his young widowed daughter.’
    • ‘Mrs Handley, of Highfield Avenue, Wortley, said the job became a lifeline after she was widowed five years ago.’
    unmarried, single, unwed, unwedded
    View synonyms

Origin

Old English widewe, from an Indo-European root meaning be empty; compare with Sanskrit vidh be destitute Latin viduus bereft, widowed and Greek ēitheos unmarried man.

Pronunciation

widow

/ˈwidō/