wid·​ow | \ ˈwi-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce widow (audio) \

Definition of widow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a woman who has lost her spouse or partner by death and usually has not remarried
c : a woman whose spouse or partner leaves her alone or ignores her frequently or for long periods to engage in a usually specified activity a golf widow a video game widow
2 : an extra hand or part of a hand of cards dealt face down and usually placed at the disposal of the highest bidder
3 : a single usually short last line (as of a paragraph) separated from its related text and appearing at the top of a printed page or column


widowed; widowing; widows

Definition of widow (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to become a widow or widower
2 obsolete : to survive as the widow of
3 : to deprive of something greatly valued or needed

Examples of widow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The filing came in response to a wrongful death suit filed by Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's widow, on February 24, the same day a memorial service was held for Kobe and Gianna Bryant. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Kobe and Gianna Bryant knew the risks of flying, helicopter company says in legal filing," 12 May 2020 The 2016 Netflix reboot centered on Danny’s eldest daughter, D.J., a 30-something widow bringing up three kids of her own with the help of her sister Stephanie and friend Kimmy Gibbler. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Final Fuller House Trailer Shows D.J., Stephanie and Kimmy Preparing for a 'Triple Wedding'," 12 May 2020 In March, the organization founded Alzafar in Action, a program that Bartlett said initially was to help their members and members’ widows, many of whom are elderly and have underlying health conditions, during the coronavirus crisis. Elizabeth Zavala, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio area Alzafar Shriners take parade, personalities to retirement community in Boerne," 26 Apr. 2020 In 2010, Nnamdi launched the Asomugha Foundation, which aims to help disadvantaged youth in the U.S. and underprivileged orphans and widows in Africa through education and empowerment. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Kerry Washington Spills the Actual Reason She Doesn't Talk About Her Husband Nnamdi Asomugha," 19 Mar. 2020 Hunter Biden began dating his brother Beau’s widow after his death, and ultimately ended up marrying someone else shortly after. Anna Kaplan, refinery29.com, "Hunter Biden Is Making A Career Pivot To Pursue Art," 28 Feb. 2020 Elijah Cummings’ widow told The Baltimore Sun that the artifacts would soon be bestowed to Howard University, his alma mater. Jeff Barker, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore Rep. Elijah Cummings’ papers, photos, stamp collection to go to his alma mater, Howard University," 14 Nov. 2019 Thomas' widow gave the books to the school's library before her death in 1999. chicagotribune.com, "Abraham Lincoln library book donation could be a gold mine for scholars of the president," 20 Oct. 2019 On their final day of the royal tour of South Africa, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are meeting with international women's advocate and widow of the late President Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Rewore Her Blush Trench Dress to Meet With Nelson Mandela's Widow, Graça Machel," 2 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Approximately 40% of Kentucky's seniors are divorced, separated or widowed, and 28% live alone, according to a 2018 report from the United Health Foundation. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Social isolation puts seniors' health at risk. The coronavirus is cutting them off further," 19 Mar. 2020 His wife, Diane Hicks, was suddenly widowed with three children. cincinnati.com, "Death, lies and uranium: How an Ohio man’s mysterious disappearance in 1984 still haunts family, friends," 17 Mar. 2020 Yet Afghanistan has been so scarred by violence — tens of thousands of civilians killed, a generation of women widowed, the security forces barely able to recruit enough to replace their losses — that even a vague prospect of peace was welcome. Lara Jakes, New York Times, "Afghan Peace Plan Faces Its First Roadblock: Releasing Taliban Prisoners," 1 Mar. 2020 His mother, widowed at 43, had to get a job cleaning houses for the wealthy in Beverly Hills. Time, "74 Years Later, California Skeleton Identified as Japanese Internment Camp Detainee," 3 Jan. 2020 Then a visit from Bill’s widowed, deeply religious mother Grammy Sue (Elizabeth Price) becomes, over the course of the 75-minute play, a catalyst for change. Christine Dolen, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: New City Players’ ‘Falling’ plunges into a family’s life coping with autism," 11 Oct. 2019 Making of a lady lawyer Lockwood was widowed at 22 and had a young daughter. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Belva Lockwood is the most badass American hero you don’t know," 5 Oct. 2019 My own research on the town of Southampton found that in 1698, 34.2% of women over 18 were single, another 18.5% were widowed, and less than half, or 47.3%, were married. Amy Froide, The Conversation, "Spinster, old maid or self-partnered – why words for single women have changed through time," 2 Dec. 2019 Dion’s widowed mother Nicole (Alisha Wainwright) tries to uncover the origin of her son’s abilities and help him control them. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio girl stars in new Netflix series, ‘Raising Dion’," 3 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word '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 widow


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for widow


Middle English widewe, from Old English wuduwe; akin to Old High German wituwa widow, Latin vidua, Sanskrit vidhavā, Latin -videre to separate

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Time Traveler for widow

Time Traveler

The first known use of widow was before the 12th century

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Statistics for widow

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Widow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/widow. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for widow


How to pronounce widow (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of widow

: a woman whose husband has died
informal : a woman whose husband often leaves her alone while he plays sports or is involved in other activities


wid·​ow | \ ˈwi-dō How to pronounce widow (audio) \

Kids Definition of widow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a woman whose husband is dead


widowed; widowing

Kids Definition of widow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a widow or widower of

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More from Merriam-Webster on widow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for widow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with widow

Spanish Central: Translation of widow

Nglish: Translation of widow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of widow for Arabic Speakers

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