widow-maker

noun wid·ow-mak·er \ ˈwi-dō-ˌmā-kər , -də- \
variants: or widow maker or less commonly widowmaker

Definition of widow-maker

:something having the potential to cause sudden loss of life
  • "Our biggest worry is the mines," says Sgt. Darrell McCoy. The Third Platoon has been well trained to handle those widow-makers.
  • —David H. Hackworth
: such as
a :a loose limb hanging in or falling from a tree
  • Broken branches that are hung up high in the canopy are called widow makers, for good reason.
  • —Jack Ewing
b :a blockage in a branch of the left coronary artery that commonly causes a fatal heart attack; also :the branch of the left coronary artery susceptible to fatal blockage
  • One of my arteries—one known as "the widowmaker"—was almost completely blocked.
  • —Rob Mikulak

First Known Use of widow-maker

1843


Medical Dictionary

widow-maker

noun wid·ow-mak·er \ ˈwi-(ˌ)dō-ˌmā-kər \
variants: or widow maker also widowmaker

medical Definition of widow-maker

:a blockage in a branch of the left coronary artery that commonly causes a fatal heart attack
  • As the dye fills the coronary arteries surrounding and feeding the heart muscle, they can often be seen with remarkable clarity. So can the small constrictions inside the vessels—“widow-makers,” cardiologists call them …
  • —H. Garrett DeYoungHigh TechnologyMarch 1983
; also :the branch of the left coronary artery susceptible to fatal blockage
  • One of my arteries—one known as “the widowmaker”—was almost completely blocked.
  • —Rob MikulakThe Asheville (North Carolina) Citizen-Times6 Feb. 2011

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up widow-maker? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to praise usually to excess

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!