What does widow mean?

Definitions for widow
ˈwɪd oʊwid·ow

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word widow.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. widow, widow womanverb

    a woman whose husband is dead especially one who has not remarried

  2. widowverb

    cause to be without a spouse

    "The war widowed many women in the former Yugoslavia"


  1. widownoun

    A woman whose husband has died (and has not re-married); feminine of widower.

  2. widownoun

    A woman whose husband is often away pursuing a sport, etc.

  3. widownoun

    A single line of type that ends a paragraph, carried over to the next page or column.

  4. widownoun

    type of venomous spider, of the genus Latrodectus

  5. widowverb

    To make a widow (or widower) of someone; to cause the death of one's spouse.

  6. Etymology: From widewe, from widuwōn.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. WIDOWnoun

    A woman whose husband is dead.

    Etymology: widwa , Sax. weduwe, Dutch; weddw, Welsh; vidua, Latin.

    To take the widow,
    Exasperates, makes mad her sister Gonerill. William Shakespeare.

    Catharine no more
    Shall be call’d queen; but princess dowager,
    And widow to prince Arthur. William Shakespeare, Hen. VIII.

    Our fatherless distress was left unmoan’d,
    Your widow-dolours likewise be unwept. William Shakespeare, Richard III.

    And will she yet debase her eyes on me,
    That cropt the golden prime of this sweet prince,
    And made her widow to a woeful bed. William Shakespeare.

    The barren they more miserable make,
    And from the widow all her comfort take. George Sandys.

    He warns the widow, and her houshold gods
    To seek a refuge in remote abodes. Dryden.

    Who has the paternal power whilst the widow-queen is with child. John Locke.

  2. To Widowverb

    Etymology: from widow.

    In this city he
    Hath widow’d and unchilded many a one,
    Which to this hour bewail the injury. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    Poor ropes you are beguil’d;
    Both you and I; for Romeo is exil’d:
    He made you for a high way to my bed,
    But I, a maid, die maiden widowed. William Shakespeare.

    Thy little care to mend my widow’d nights,
    Has forc’d me to recourse of marriage rites,
    To fill an empty side. Dryden.

    For his possessions,
    Although by confiscation they are ours,
    We do instate and widow you withal,
    To buy you a better husband. William Shakespeare.

    The widow’d isle in mourning
    Dries up her tears. Dryden.

    For him you waste in tears your widow’d hours. Dryden.

    Inclement weather and frosty blasts deface
    The blithsome year, trees of their shrivel’d fruits
    Are widow’d, dreary storms o’er all prevail. Philips.


  1. Widow

    A widow (female) or widower (male) is a person whose spouse has died.


  1. widow

    A widow is a woman whose spouse has died and who has not remarried.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Widownoun

    a woman who has lost her husband by death, and has not married again; one living bereaved of a husband

  2. Widowadjective


  3. Widowverb

    to reduce to the condition of a widow; to bereave of a husband; -- rarely used except in the past participle

  4. Widowverb

    to deprive of one who is loved; to strip of anything beloved or highly esteemed; to make desolate or bare; to bereave

  5. Widowverb

    to endow with a widow's right

  6. Widowverb

    to become, or survive as, the widow of

  7. Etymology: [OE. widewe, widwe, AS. weoduwe, widuwe, wuduwe; akin to OFries. widwe, OS. widowa, D. weduwe, G. wittwe, witwe, OHG. wituwa, witawa, Goth. widuw, Russ. udova, OIr. fedb, W. gweddw, L. vidua, Skr. vidhav; and probably to Skr. vidh to be empty, to lack; cf. Gr. "hi`qeos a bachelor. 248. Cf. Vidual.]


  1. Widow

    A widow is a woman whose spouse has died, while a widower is a man whose spouse has died. The state of having lost one's spouse to death is termed widowhood. This term can be used for either sex, at least according to some dictionaries, but the word widowerhood is also listed in some dictionaries. Occasionally, the word viduity is used. The adjective form for either sex is widowed. The treatment of widows around the world varies, but unequal benefits and treatment generally received by widows versus widowers globally has spurred an interest in the issue by human rights activists.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Widow

    wid′ō, n. a woman who has lost her husband by death.—v.t. to bereave of a husband: to strip of anything valued: (Shak.) to endow with a widow's right: to be widow to.—ns. Wid′ow-bench, a widow's share of her husband's estate besides her jointure; Wid′ow-bewitched′, a grass-widow; Wid′ow-bird, a corruption of Whydah-bird; Wid′ower, a man whose wife is dead; Wid′owerhood; Wid′owhood, state of being a widow, or (rarely) of being a widower: (Shak.) a widow's right; Wid′ow-hun′ter, one who seeks to marry a widow for her money; Wid′ow-mā′ker, one who bereaves women of their husbands; Wid′ow's-cham′ber, the apparel and bedroom furniture of the widow of a London freeman, to which she was entitled; Wid′ow-wail, a dwarf shrub with pink, sweet-scented flowers, native to Spain and southern France.—Widow's lawn, a fine thin muslin; Widow's man, a fictitious person; Widow's silk, a silk fabric with dull surface, for mournings; Widow's weeds, the mourning dress of a widow. [A.S. widwe, wuduwe; Ger. wittwe, L. vidua, bereft of a husband, Sans. vidhavā.]

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz

  1. WIDOW

    The wife of a golfer during the open season, unless she golfs, too. In that event the children are golf orphans.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'widow' in Nouns Frequency: #1830

How to pronounce widow?

How to say widow in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of widow in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of widow in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of widow in a Sentence

  1. Summer Barrios:

    Before Covid, I never thought I'd be a widow at 41.

  2. Laura Linney:

    She's a war widow from that period of time and the impact that the war has on everyone in this film is the sort of unspoken earthquake underneath the story.

  3. Scott C. Holstad:

    one night i saw the black widow crawling on my bed and the fear coursing through my veins felt like the best kind of hell

  4. Portuguese Proverb:

    A rich widow weeps with one eye and signals with the other.

  5. Steven Soderbergh:

    That was something we were going to do well before the nominations came out -- we talked about that in January. It's our belief -- that I think is not unfounded -- that actors' speeches tend to be more dramatic than producers' speeches. And so we thought it might be fun to mix it up, especially if people didn't know that was coming, so that was always part of the plan. And then when the nominations came out and there was even the possibility that Chadwick could win posthumously, our feeling was if he were to win and his widow were to speak on his behalf, there would be nowhere to go after that. So we stuck with it.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for widow

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for widow »


Find a translation for the widow definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"widow." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 Feb. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/widow>.

Discuss these widow definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for widow? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    incapable of being atoned for
    • A. tantamount
    • B. inexpiable
    • C. dicotyledonous
    • D. usurious

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for widow: