grass widow

grass widow
   a woman of marriageable age separated for an extended period from her husband
   The derivation is from the grass of the hill stations to which wives were sent during the Indian hot season, or a corruption of grace widow? Originally it might mean a mistress or an unmarried woman who had had a child:
    Grass widows and their fatlings to lie in and nurse here. (R. Hunt, 1896)
   If the husband was away for long periods, there might be an inference that the grass widow was promiscuous:
    ... here husband having run off on her, so that now she was no more than a grass widow. (Atwood, 1996 — for which loss she found nightly consolation in the arms of her lodger)
    Some humorous use of husbands who regularly absent themselves to play sport:
    When [Denis Thatcher] played cricket for the old boys, Margaret washed up the tea things in the clubhouse like any other grass widow of the period. (Sunday Telegraph, 7 May 1995)

How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • grass widow — n. 1. A woman who is divorced or separated from her husband. 2. A woman whose husband is temporarily absent. 3. An abandoned mistress. 4. The mother of a child born out of wedlock. ╂ [Perhaps in allusion to a bed of grass or hay.] …   Word Histories

  • Grass widow — Grass Grass, n. [OE. gras, gres, gers, AS, gr[ae]s, g[ae]rs; akin to OFries. gres, gers, OS., D., G., Icel., & Goth. gras, Dan. gr[ae]s, Sw. gr[aum]s, and prob. to E. green, grow. Cf. {Graze}.] 1. Popularly: Herbage; the plants which constitute… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Grass widow — Widow Wid ow (w[i^]d [ o]), n. [OE. widewe, widwe, AS. weoduwe, widuwe, wuduwe; akin to OFries. widwe, OS. widowa, D. weduwe, G. wittwe, witwe, OHG. wituwa, witawa, Goth. widuw[=o], Russ. udova, OIr. fedb, W. gweddw, L. vidua, Skr. vidhav[=a];… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • grass widow — A grass widow is a woman whose husband is often away on work, leaving her on her own …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • grass widow — 1520s, originally discarded mistress (Cf. Ger. Strohwitwe, lit. straw widow ), probably in reference to casual bedding. Sense of married woman whose husband is absent is from 1846. [G]rasse wydowes ... be yet as seuerall as a barbours chayre and… …   Etymology dictionary

  • grass widow — n. [Early ModE, discarded mistress (similar to Du grasweduwe, Ger strohwittwe): prob. allusion is to bed of grass or straw as opposed to the conjugal bed] 1. a woman divorced or otherwise separated from her husband 2. a woman whose husband is… …   English World dictionary

  • grass widow — noun a woman whose husband is away often or for a prolonged period. Origin C16 (denoting an unmarried woman with a child): from grass + widow, perh. from the idea of a couple having lain on the grass instead of in bed …   English new terms dictionary

  • grass widow —    A grass widow is a woman whose husband is often away on work, leaving her on her own.   (Dorking School Dictionary) …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • Grass widow —   A grass widow is a woman whose husband is often away on work, leaving her on her own …   Dictionary of English idioms

  • grass widow — grass′ wid′ow n. 1) a woman who is separated, divorced, or lives apart from her husband 2) a woman whose husband is often away from home 3) Chiefly Dial. a) a mistress who has been cast aside b) a woman who has borne an illegitimate child •… …   From formal English to slang

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