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merry widow

a woman's undergarment consisting of a strapless brassiere and short corset with attached garters. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Word Origin and History for merry widow
Merry Widow
1907, from the Eng. title of Franz Lehar's operetta "Die Lustige Witwe" (1905). "The Lusty Widow" would have been more literal, but would have given the wrong impression in Eng. Meaning "a type of wide-brimmed hat" (popularized in the play) is attested from 1908.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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