grass widow

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noun

a woman who is separated, divorced, or lives apart from her husband.
a woman whose husband is away from home frequently or for a long time, as on business or to pursue a sport or hobby.
Archaic.
  1. a discarded mistress.
  2. a woman who has borne an illegitimate child.

Origin of grass widow

1520–30; the first element perhaps orig. alluding to a bed of grass, hay, or the like; compare Dutch grasweduwe, German Strohwittwe literally, straw-widow

Related forms

grass·wid·ow·hood, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for grass widow

British Dictionary definitions for grass widow

grass widow

noun

a woman divorced, separated, or living away from her spouse
a woman whose spouse is regularly away for short periods

Word Origin for grass widow

C16, meaning a discarded mistress: perhaps an allusion to a grass bed as representing an illicit relationship; compare bastard; C19 in the modern sense
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with grass widow

grass widow

A woman who is separated from her husband, either by divorce or temporary absence. For example, She's a grass widow these days, with Herb traveling to golf tournaments all over the country. The expression dates from the 16th century, when it referred to the mother of an illegitimate child, grass presumably alluding to the open-air setting of the child's conception.


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.