American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A woman who is divorced or separated from her husband.
- n. A woman whose husband is temporarily absent.
- n. An abandoned mistress.
- n. The mother of a child born out of wedlock.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An unmarried woman who has had a child.
- n. A wife temporarily separated from her husband, as while he is traveling or residing at a distance on account of business: also often applied to a divorced woman, or to a wife who has been abandoned by her husband.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. [Obs.], [Slang.] A woman separated from her husband by abandonment or prolonged absence; a woman living apart from her husband.
- n. See under Grass.
- n. a divorced woman or a woman who is separated from her husband
- From grass + widow. Compare Dutch grasweduwe, Swedish gräsänka. (Wiktionary)
- Perhaps in allusion to a bed of grass or hay. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Or Mrs. Brown, detecting her husband, Mr. Brown, in lamentable proceedings with a neighbor, the grass widow Kraus, forgives him and continues to be true to him in consideration of her children, Fred, Pansy and Little Fern.”
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