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Monday, 4 January 2021

Spot the Frippet: widow.

 A widow is a woman whose husband has died...though nowadays I suppose it might be that her wife has died.

Traditionally widows wear black as a sign of mourning: 


Mary Wylie Burbank Kind. 1920

though nowadays black is usually kept just for the funeral. 

If then.

We are all bound to know some widows, and today must be as good a day as any for spotting them, or contacting them, or even just giving one a socially-distanced wave.

Some widows - the lucky ones? - still have husbands living. A golf widow sees very little of her husband because he spends so much time on the golf course; and there must be motorbike widows, and bird widows, and possibly even moth widows.

There are also widows to be found in books - yes, they appear as characters, but a widow is also the end of a paragraph when it consists of a very short line, perhaps only a word long, especially if it appears at the top of a page. Copy-editors hate them and will juggle them away whenever possible.

At cards, a widow can be a hand of cards exposed on a table.

Then we have widow birds:



 (hopefully ones which eat black widow spiders), a widow's mite (a donation to a good cause from a poor person), and the kind of hairline called a widow's peak:


photo by Kdhondt


So it seems that widows can be quite cheerful things. Hurray!

Spot the Frippet: widow. This word was widuwe in Old English. In Latin it was vidua (viduus means deprived). The Sanskrit form is vidhavā.


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