grass widow

grass widow

noun
1.
a woman who is separated, divorced, or lives apart from her husband.
2.
a woman whose husband is away from home frequently or for a long time, as on business or to pursue a sport or hobby.
3.
Archaic.
a.
a discarded mistress.
b.
a woman who has borne an illegitimate child.

Origin:
1520–30; the first element perhaps orig. alluding to a bed of grass, hay, or the like; compare Dutch grasweduwe, German Strohwittwe literally, straw-widow

grasswidowhood, noun
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World English Dictionary
grass widow
 
n
1.  a woman divorced, separated, or living away from her spouse
2.  a woman whose spouse is regularly away for short periods
 
[C16, meaning a discarded mistress: perhaps an allusion to a grass bed as representing an illicit relationship; compare bastard; C19 in the modern sense]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

grass widow

A woman who is separated from her husband, either by divorce or temporary absence. For example, She's a grass widow these days, with Herb traveling to golf tournaments all over the country. The expression dates from the 16th century, when it referred to the mother of an illegitimate child, grass presumably alluding to the open-air setting of the child's conception.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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