Origin of widower

1325–75; late Middle English (see widow, -er1); replacing widow (now dial.), Old English wydewa
Related formswid·ow·ered, adjectivewid·ow·er·hood, noun
Can be confusedwidow widower
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for widower

Contemporary Examples of widower

Historical Examples of widower

  • Mr. John Lambert was a millionnaire, a politician, and a widower.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Jacob was tall and snuff-colored, a widower of three years' standing.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • His relations with her father and mother were like those on which a widower son-in-law might have stood.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • "They didn't bother Mr. Wetherford Swift," said the widower.

  • "If there were not an ordinance against the hurling of missiles," finished the widower.

British Dictionary definitions for widower


  1. a man whose wife has died and who has not remarried
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 widower

mid-14c., extended from widow. The Old English masc. form was widewa.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper