Widow vs. Widower: What’s The Difference?

Widow and widower are the words to describe a surviving spouse left behind after their husband or wife died. The word widow has an Old English origin dating back to before the 19th century. A widow is a woman who has experienced the death of a spouse or significant other. A widower is a man who has a deceased spouse or loved one. 

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What Is the Definition of the Word Widow?


  • a woman who has a deceased husband and has not obtained a new husband through remarriage.
  • Cards. an additional hand or part of a hand, as one dealt to the table.
  • Printing.
  • a short last line of a paragraph, especially one less than half of the full measure or one consisting of only a single word.
  • the last line of a paragraph when it is carried over to the top of the following page away from the rest of the paragraph.
  • a woman often left alone because her husband devotes his free time to a hobby or sport (used in combination).
  • similar words include widowhood
    • e.g. In regards to the well-being and treatment of widows, it is essential that they have a support system or attend support groups to help them transition into their new life. 
    • The widow still wore her wedding ring and she was qualifying for her deceased husband’s Social Security. 


  • to make (someone) a widow:
    • She was widowed by the war.
    • She was widowed thanks to health risks in her deceased husband. 
  • to deprive of anything cherished or needed:
    • A surprise attack widowed the army of its supplies.
  • Obsolete.
  • to endow with a widow’s right.
  • to survive as the widow of.

What Is the Definition of the Word Widower?


  • a man who has lost his spouse by death and has not remarried.

Examples of the Word Widower in Context

Examples of the Word Widow in Context


Now you should be familiar with the terms widow and widower. You should be able to use both in the correct sense for which gender spouse was left behind and also know more about both words. 


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