black widow

black widow

noun
a venomous spider, Latrodectus mactans, widely distributed in the U.S., the female of which is jet-black with an hourglass-shaped red mark on the underside of its abdomen.

Origin:
1910–15

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World English Dictionary
black widow
 
n
an American spider, Latrodectus mactans, the female of which is black with red markings, highly venomous, and commonly eats its mate

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

black widow
type of poisonous spider in U.S. South (Latrodectus mactans), 1904, so called from its color and from the female's supposed habit of eating the male after mating (they are cannibalistic, but this particular behavior is rare in the wild). Sometimes also known as shoe-button spider. The name black widow
is attested earlier (1830s) as a translation of a name of the "scorpion spider" of Central Asia.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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