Last night, not for the first time, I heard someone refer to a man as a “widow.” Not only did I hear this usage, I saw it headlined across a Powerpoint slide at the presentation I was attending.
In English a widow is a woman whose husband has died.
A man whose wife has died is a widower.
As widow is feminine in meaning, the regional expression widow woman is a tautology. That is, it says the same thing twice.
Another tautology inscribed on a subsequent slide at this same meeting was “the 100th Year Centennial.”
A centennial is the observance of a 100 year anniversary. Ex. The city council announced that the town would observe the centennial of its founding.
TIP: As I urged in one of my very first articles for DWT, Let the Word Do the Work!
Here are some examples of the redundant “widow woman” usage around the web:
I am 28 year old man.I am attracted by a widow woman who is interested to talk with me deeply. What can I do? – Quora.com
I read in the paper that Jesse James held up a train and when he found out a widow woman who was on the train didn’t have any money to give him… – Book
In 2017 a movie titled “The Widow Man” was released, probably increasing the confusion on people’s minds. The careful writer will observe the distinction and avoid the redundancy when using widow and widower.