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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. 2016.
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Word Origin and History for merry-widow

Merry Widow

1907, from the English title of Franz Lehar's operetta "Die Lustige Witwe" (1905). "The Lusty Widow" would have been more etymological (see lust (n.)), but would have given the wrong impression in English. 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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