from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A woman separated from her husband by abandonment or prolonged absence; a woman living apart from her husband.
- n. See under Grass.
from The 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.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a divorced woman or a woman who is separated from her husband
Perhaps in allusion to a bed of grass or hay.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From grass + widow. Compare Dutch grasweduwe, Swedish gräsänka. (Wiktionary)