[ wid-oh ]
See synonyms for: widowwidowed on Thesaurus.com

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

  2. Cards. an additional hand or part of a hand, as one dealt to the table.

  1. Printing.

    • a short last line of a paragraph, especially one less than half of the full measure or one consisting of only a single word.

    • the last line of a paragraph when it is carried over to the top of the following page away from the rest of the paragraph.: Compare orphan (def. 4).

  2. a woman often left alone because her husband devotes his free time to a hobby or sport (used in combination).: Compare golf widow.

verb (used with object),wid·owed, wid·ow·ing.
  1. to make (someone) a widow: She was widowed by the war.

  2. to deprive of anything cherished or needed: A surprise attack widowed the army of its supplies.

  1. Obsolete.

    • to endow with a widow's right.

    • to survive as the widow of.

Origin of widow

First recorded before 900; (noun) Middle English wid(e)we, Old English widuwe, wydewe; cognate with German Witwe, Gothic widuwo, Latin vidua (feminine of viduus “bereaved”), Sanskrit vidhavā “widow”; (verb) Middle English, derivative of the noun

Other words from widow

  • wid·ow·ly, adjective

Words that may be confused with widow

Words Nearby widow

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use widow in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for widow


/ (ˈwɪdəʊ) /

  1. a woman who has survived her husband, esp one who has not remarried

  2. (usually with a modifier) informal a woman whose husband frequently leaves her alone while he indulges in a sport, etc: a golf widow

  1. printing a short line at the end of a paragraph, esp one that occurs as the top line of a page or column: Compare orphan (def. 3)

  2. (in some card games) an additional hand or set of cards exposed on the table

verb(tr; usually passive)
  1. to cause to become a widow or a widower

  2. to deprive of something valued or desirable

Origin of widow

Old English widuwe; related to German Witwe, Latin vidua (feminine of viduus deprived), Sanskrit vidhavā

Derived forms of widow

  • widowhood, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with widow


see grass widow.

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