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See more synonyms for widow 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.
  3. Printing.
    1. a short last line of a paragraph, especially one less than half of the full measure or one consisting of only a single word.
    2. 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).
  4. a woman often left alone because her husband devotes his free time to a hobby or sport (used in combination).Compare golf widow.
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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.
  3. Obsolete.
    1. to endow with a widow's right.
    2. to survive as the widow of.
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Origin of widow

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; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun
Related formswid·ow·ly, adjectiveun·wid·owed, adjective
Can be confusedwidow widower
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for widowed

eligible, widowed, only, unattended, single, unaccompanied, solo, bachelor, sole, unattached, unwed, abandoned, deserted, desolate, detached, forlorn, forsaken, friendless, hermit, individual

Examples from the Web for widowed

Contemporary Examples of widowed

Historical Examples of widowed

  • She had rejoiced for his happy spirit, and now she mourned her own widowed lot.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • When she left him the widowed father of a little girl, he mourned sincerely for her.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • He then invited his widowed sister to live with him and take charge of his child.

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley

  • She arrived in Dresden and sought refuge with her widowed mother.

  • I am widowed; and the first numbness of the unexpected shock has not left me yet.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter

British Dictionary definitions for widowed


  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, etca golf widow
  3. printing a short line at the end of a paragraph, esp one that occurs as the top line of a page or columnCompare orphan (def. 3)
  4. (in some card games) an additional hand or set of cards exposed on the table
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verb (tr; usually passive)
  1. to cause to become a widow or a widower
  2. to deprive of something valued or desirable
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Derived Formswidowhood, noun

Word Origin for widow

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

Word Origin and History for widowed



c.1300; see widow (n.). Related: Widowed; widowing.

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Old English widewe, widuwe, from Proto-Germanic *widewo (cf. Old Saxon widowa, Old Frisian widwe, Middle Dutch, Dutch weduwe, Dutch weeuw, Old High German wituwa, German Witwe, Gothic widuwo), from PIE adj. *widhewo (cf. Sanskrit vidhuh "lonely, solitary," vidhava "widow;" Avestan vithava, Latin vidua, Old Church Slavonic vidova, Russian vdova, Old Irish fedb, Welsh guedeu "widow;" Persian beva, Greek eitheos "unmarried man;" Latin viduus "bereft, void"), from root *weidh- "to separate" (cf. second element in Latin di-videre "to divide;" see with).

As a prefix to a name, attested from 1570s. Meaning "short line of type" (especially at the top of a column) is 1904 print shop slang. Widow's mite is from Mark xii:43. Widow's peak is from the belief that hair growing to a point on the forehead is an omen of early widowhood, suggestive of the "peak" of a widow's hood. Widow maker "anything lethally dangerous" first recorded 1945, originally among loggers, in reference to dead trees, etc. The widow bird (1747) so-called in reference to the long black tail feathers of the males, suggestive of widows' veils.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with widowed


see grass widow.

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