widow

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golf widow

A woman whose husband frequently absents himself from home so as to go and play golf. I thought I would finally see more of John after his retirement, but I became a golf widow instead.
See also: golf, widow

grass widow

1. A woman who lives apart from her husband due to a job location or other circumstances. The politician's wife has become a grass widow ever since he started campaigning for office.
2. A woman who is divorced or separated from her spouse. If you never get married, you'll never have to worry about becoming a grass widow.
3. A mistress who is no longer wanted. The town referred to Judy as a grass widow after the man she was seeing decided to return to his wife.
4. The mother of an illegitimate child. When they discovered that Maria had had her son out of wedlock, they cruelly called her a grass widow.
See also: grass, widow

widow's mite

A small monetary contribution made by one who is poor. Edna hardly has any money, and she still gives the church a widow's mite.
See also: mite

widow's peak

A point in the hairline in the middle of one's forehead. Now known to be a genetic trait, it was once believed to indicate early widowhood. My sister has a widow's peak. Does this haircut make my widow's peak too noticeable?

grass widow

a woman abandoned by her husband. (The origin of this is not clear.) Jane's husband isn't dead, but she's a widow just the same—a grass widow. Bill ran off and left Mary a grass widow.
See also: grass, widow

grass widow

A woman who is separated from her husband, either by divorce or temporary absence. For example, She's a grass widow these days, with Herb traveling to golf tournaments all over the country . The expression dates from the 16th century, when it referred to the mother of an illegitimate child, grass presumably alluding to the open-air setting of the child's conception.
See also: grass, widow

a widow's cruse

an apparently small supply that proves inexhaustible.
In the Bible, 1 Kings 17 tells the story of the widow to whom Elijah was sent for sustenance. When he asked her for bread, she replied that all she had for herself and her son was ‘an handful of meal in a barrel and a little oil in a cruse’ (a cruse was a small earthenware pot or jar). Elijah told her to make him a cake from these ingredients and then to make food for herself and her son as God had decreed that the containers should be continually replenished.

a widow's mite

a small monetary contribution from someone who is poor.
This phrase comes from a story recounted in Mark 12:41–4. A poor widow donated two mites (coins of very low value) to the treasury of the Temple in Jerusalem, a sum which constituted all the money she possessed. Witnessing this act, Jesus told his disciples that she had given more than the richest contributor because she had given all that she had.
See also: mite

widow-maker

n. a dangerous horse; anything dangerous: a gun, strong alcohol, etc. I call this stuff widow-maker. It’s really strong.

grass widow

A woman temporarily or permanently separated from her husband. Many times during and after the American West was settled, farmers decided that they had enough of such a bleak life, whereupon they left their wives and children. These abandoned women were known as grass widows, left out to grass on the Great Plains. (The phrase is, however, much older. It was first used in 16th-century England to describe women of easy virtue who “slept” on beds of grass instead of mattresses and bed linen.) “Grass widow” came to be applied to the wives of traveling salesmen, professional athletes, and other men who spent much of their year on the road. As that usage became obsolete, similar phrases appeared: golf widow, fishing or hunting widow, and any other sport that claimed their hubby's attention.
See also: grass, widow

widow's weeds

Female mourning costume. The word “weed” comes from an Old English word for “garment.” As a phrase to wear widow's weeds simply means to be in mourning. Many cultures have had or still have a custom of wearing distinctive clothing to mark a husband's death. In Victorian England, for example, a widow wore black for the first year and a day, then moved through dark purple and other somber colors to lighter shades. However, the queen who gave her name to the era wore no other color than black after the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert. Many widows in many Mediterranean countries, most notable Greece and southern Italy, wear black for the rest of their lives.
See also: weed