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 investigation became public in 2017 when the government unveiled charges against FCA Vice President Alphons Iacobelli and Detroit photographer Monica Morgan, widow of the late UAW Vice President General Holiefield. Cindy Burton, Detroit Free Press, "UAW corruption scandal hangs over contract talks: Here's the latest," 16 Sep. 2019 The manor is the domain of Theresa Sackler, widow of one of Purdue's founders and, until last year, a member of the company's board of directors. CBS News, "How Purdue Pharma's Sackler family hid their cash," 30 Aug. 2019 Castle Rock State Park was established in 1968 when Dorothy Varian, widow of Silicon Valley electronics pioneer Russell Varian, donated money to buy the first 566 acres. Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, "Castle Rock State Park: Grand new $8.7 million entrance opens to public," 1 Aug. 2019 Powell Jobs, widow of former Apple cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs, is a philanthropist and entrepreneur and president of the Emerson Collective, a social impact organization. Mark Kennedy, BostonGlobe.com, "Leonardo DiCaprio helps create new environmental alliance to address climate change," 2 July 2019 Updike, widow of namesake Wally Updike, sold the bar last year after the longtime manager of the establishment fell ill and later passed away. Kyle Arnold, orlandosentinel.com, "Wally’s Liquors is reopening Monday, with no smoking and weaker drinks," 11 June 2019 The statement, which followed a report by Bloomberg, said Friede Springer, widow of the media company’s namesake founder and majority shareholder, and Chief Executive Matthias... Sara Germano, WSJ, "Axel Springer Shares Surge on KKR Bid Talks," 30 May 2019 Princess Bibesco, widow of Romanian industrialist Prince George Valentin Bibesco and dowager of the Enchanted Isle, had accorded me a rendezvous at her home on the western tip of the island. Bruce Dale, National Geographic, "Adored, neglected, and restored: A 1968 Nat Geo feature explored Notre Dame," 17 Apr. 2019 The widow of the Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Juanita Abernathy worked alongside him and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and others for the right to vote. Chevel Johnson, Los Angeles Times, "U.S. civil rights advocate Juanita Abernathy dies at 88," 14 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Scammers will often target single, widowed and divorced older women, but anyone can be a victim, the attorney general’s office said. Mikala Kane, courant.com, "Navigating the online dating scene? The state attorney general has some tips to help you out and keep you safe," 7 Aug. 2019 Margaret Greville was a legendary hostess who married well, spent well, and was widowed early. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "The Romanovs’ Favorite Tiara Is Back On Trend," 13 Aug. 2019 According to the 2016 census, 24 percent of people 65 and older are widowed, which is no insignificant number. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Travel Can Be a Turning Point After Losing a Partner," 20 Aug. 2019 There Juana was briefly reunited with her sister, Catherine, who by then had been widowed by Prince Arthur, though not yet married to Henry VIII. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "What Was Catherine of Aragon's Sister, Juana la Loca, Really Like?," 10 June 2019 Barbara married George Cornelius in 2000 and was widowed in 2005. sun-sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 7/14," 14 July 2019 Acela began selling mattresses downtown in 1997, twenty-five years old and newly widowed, with an infant and a two-year-old. Rowan Moore Gerety, Harper's magazine, "Downstream," 10 June 2019 Michael Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy, was one of seven children left largely unsupervised by their father, who had been widowed after their mother had died a few years earlier from cancer. Rick Rojas And Kristin Hussey, New York Times, "Four Decades After Martha Moxley’s Murder, Her Mother Says ‘It’s Enough’," 5 May 2018 In a fictional Pakistani town, Nargis, a prominent architect, is suddenly widowed after her husband is killed in an attack. Joumana Khatib, New York Times, "New in Paperback: ‘Priestdaddy,’ ‘The Golden Legend’," 4 May 2018

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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Statistics for widow

Last Updated

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for widow

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

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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

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

Comments on widow

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


something of little or no value

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