black widow

noun

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

The state is home to about 500 species of spiders, with three that can cause serious health problems for humans, once bitten: the hobo, yellow sac and black widow. Aimee Green, OregonLive.com, "Manager of upscale Portland restaurant bitten by poisonous spider, $999,999 lawsuit says," 14 Mar. 2018 Brown recluse Similar to the black widow, brown recluse spiders also have a distinct marking. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Brown recluse, black widow and other dangerous spiders found in the US," 10 July 2018 These can include bites from scorpions, black widow spiders and rattlesnakes, as well as bee stings. Kelsey Mo, azcentral, "Top 5 calls to Poison Control and what the hotline advises you should do," 18 June 2018 Something of a black widow, Cotton seduced and executed multiple husbands by lacing their tea with arsenic, but not before taking out life insurance policies. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Downton Abbey Star Joanne Froggatt Returns to PBS in a Gruesome New Role," 29 Apr. 2017 The Oregon Department of Agriculture says the black widow is probably the most dangerous. Aimee Green, OregonLive.com, "Manager of upscale Portland restaurant bitten by poisonous spider, $999,999 lawsuit says," 14 Mar. 2018 As Winchester, who lost her husband and young child at an early age, Mirren spends the film in black widow's lace. Jen Yamato, latimes.com, "Helen Mirren welcomes the Time's Up movement and the anti-gun vibe of horror film 'Winchester'," 26 Jan. 2018 As Winchester, who lost her husband and young child at an early age, Mirren spends the film in black widow’s lace. Jen Yamato, Detroit Free Press, "Mirren saw ‘Winchester’ as a horror film with a conscience," 1 Feb. 2018 Similar to today’s black widows and huntsman spiders, C. yingi had silk-producing spinnerets near its rear end. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, "Spider-like Creature With a Scorpion’s Tail Found Trapped in Amber," 5 Feb. 2018

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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Last Updated

25 Aug 2018

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The first known use of black widow was in 1830

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More Definitions for black widow

black widow

noun

English Language Learners Definition of black widow

: a poisonous American spider

black widow

noun

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

noun
black wid·ow | \-ˈwid-ˌō \

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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