grass widow

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Grass perhaps relates to casual bedding.[1] Compare Dutch grasweduwe, Swedish gräsänka, German Strohwitwe.



grass widow (plural grass widows)

  1. An unmarried woman who has lived with several different men; a former mistress. [from 16th c.]
  2. A married woman whose spouse is away. [from 19th c.]
    • 1941, James M. Cain, Mildred Pierce, New York, Random House:
      Then Mrs. Gessler shook her head. "Well, you've joined the biggest army on earth. You're the great American institution that never gets mentioned on Fourth of July -- a grass widow with two small children to support. The dirty bastards."
    • Isaac Bashevis Singer, translated by Marian Magid and Elizabeth Pollet Collected stories : Gimpel the fool to The letter writer: Gimpel the fool & other stories, The Spinoza of Market Street, Short Friday & other stories, The séance & other stories, "Yentl the Yeshiva Boy", New York : Library of America : Distributed in the United States by Penguin Putnam, p. 461:
      And who ever heard of a demon sending his wife a divorce? When a demon marries a daughter of mortals,he usually lets her remain a grass widow.
    • 1974, GB Edwards, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, New York 2007, p. 226:
      I was disappointed when it was her who opened the door and said, ‘Ah, I had a feeling you were thinking about me! Come in, come in, do! I am a grass widow.’

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “grass widow”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Further reading[edit]