widow-maker

noun

wid·​ow-mak·​er ˈwi-dō-ˌmā-kər How to pronounce widow-maker (audio)
-də-
variants or widow maker or less commonly widowmaker
: 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

Examples of widow-maker in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The political widow-maker of the Israeli Left strikes again. Neri Zilber, Foreign Affairs, 23 May 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'widow-maker.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1798, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of widow-maker was in 1798

Dictionary Entries Near widow-maker

Cite this Entry

“Widow-maker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/widow-maker. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

widow-maker

noun
wid·​ow-mak·​er ˈwi-(ˌ)dō-ˌmā-kər How to pronounce widow-maker (audio)
variants or widow maker also widowmaker
: 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 DeYoung, High Technology
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, The Asheville (North Carolina) Citizen-Times
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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