black widow


Definition of black widow

: a venomous New World spider (Latrodectus mactans of the family Theridiidae) the female of which is black with an hourglass-shaped red mark on the underside of the abdomen broadly : any of various related venomous spiders that have a large globular, usually glossy, dark abdomen often marked with red and long and wiry legs

Illustration of black widow

Illustration of black widow

Examples of black widow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Of the thousands of spider species in Florida, two are considered potentially dangerous: the black widow and brown recluse. Ron Seifer,, 2 Sep. 2021 With a black widow bite, the pain often starts off mild with some swelling and red marks. Sarah Jacob, SELF, 5 Aug. 2021 Antivenom to black widow bites was first manufactured in the 1930s. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 July 2021 Signs of a black widow bite include pain followed by redness and swelling; two tiny fang marks; and muscles spasms, chills, and nausea that start within an hour following a bite. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 27 May 2021 And as his empire crumbles, my precious black widow shall rise as his most fitting successor! Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 16 Mar. 2021 The black widow is the most harmful spider to humans in the state. oregonlive, 14 Nov. 2020 Only her face is cracked open like an egg to reveal a black widow spider weaving a web inside her hollow skull. Nick Romano,, 12 Nov. 2020 The High School Musical actress channeled a black widow spider, a cabaret dancer, and Catwoman for her costumes this year. Harper's BAZAAR, 1 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'black widow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of black widow

1830, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of black widow was in 1830

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Dictionary Entries Near black widow

black-whiskered vireo

black widow

black wildebeest

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Last Updated

10 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Black widow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of black widow

: a poisonous American spider

black widow


Kids Definition of black widow

: a poisonous spider the female of which is black with a red mark shaped like an hourglass on the underside of the abdomen

black widow

black wid·​ow | \ -ˈwid-ˌō How to pronounce black widow (audio) \

Medical Definition of black widow

: a venomous New World spider of the genus Latrodectus (L. mactans) the female of which is black with an hourglass-shaped red mark on the underside of the abdomen broadly : any other spider of the genus Latrodectus

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