from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A short strapless corset with half cups for the breasts and long garters.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A strapless corset with long garters and half cups for the breasts.


Originally a trademark.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Originally a trademark of the Maidenform lingerie company, for a product eponymous of the 1952 film The Merry Widow. (Wiktionary)


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  • See also Dolly Varden

    July 18, 2008

  • The Merry Widow (operetta) was so wildly popular that the name was given to a whole bunch of things. In addition to the undies and the chapeau, there were Merry Widow chocolates, shoes and cigars – all unauthorised apparently. There was even a Merry Widow cocktail: 1 1/2 oz. each of Gin & Sweet Vermouth, with a dash each of Pernod & Bitters, served strained over ice and garnished with a lemon twist.

    Merchandise clearly isn't a new concept in the performing arts.

    April 18, 2008

  • 3. A type of wide-brimmed hat trimmed with a plume, popularized by the operetta. Here's an example of fashion taken a bit too far.

    April 18, 2008

  • 1. A type of foundation garment, also known as a corselet or corselette. Lana Turner is quoted as having said, "I am telling you, the merry widow was designed by a man. A woman would never do that to another woman."

    2. A 1905 operetta by Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár.

    October 28, 2007