Dictionaries and online sources say the abbreviation for 'widow' could be...

wd, and so on...


One of the references as stated by some Native speaker (and, also a few likes) say that 'Mrs.' could be used as an abbreviation for widow! This is very strange to me.

I'd seek native speakers' opinion on this as I know in InE, there's no such practice. Plus, I'd like to know how politely and culturally we can address her.

What do you guys write for a widow or widower?

Mr. Jack Orson
Mrs. Jennifer Kidman
Mrs. Kate Bush

If we believe that source, how do we make out -whether Kate is widow or Jennifer?

The context: I just want to mention those three people. They are the hosts.

  • 4
    I'm not a native speaker, but I don't think a woman would want everybody to know that she is a widow by flaunting around a 'prefix' to her name, unlike a "Ms." or "Mrs.". So even if there is an abbreviation for it, its hardly ever used (as far as I know, which may be next to nothing).
    – Varun Nair
    Jan 20, 2016 at 6:04
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  • 2
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mrs. You can get your answer there. :)
    – Usernew
    Jan 20, 2016 at 6:08
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    @GoDucks When I seek native speakers' advice, I'm pretty clear about it! Because I cover InE! :)
    – Maulik V
    Jan 20, 2016 at 6:12
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    Ask her politely: Respectfully let her know about your confusion on the matter and ask how she would prefer to be addressed. She will appreciate your kindness.
    – lurker
    Jan 20, 2016 at 7:00

3 Answers 3


In the past (perhaps a century ago), we would refer to "the widow Bush," to indicate that Kate's husband had died. But these days, there is no such convention, so instead we write,

"Dear Mrs. Bush, Please accept our deepest condolences for the passing of your husband. We are very sorry for your loss,"

and then we continue writing whatever it is that we need to convey.


Traditionally, when writing to a married lady or referring to her in writing, one would use her Husband's name, such as:

Mrs. John Kennedy, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue...

For a widow this would then revert to her own name, such as:

Mrs Jackie Kennedy, .....

However, in modern times this cannot be assumed to be polite in all circumstances, as not all married ladies are addressed by their husband's name and do not always use the title of Mrs. A full discussion of manners and naming conventions is probably outside the scope of the question.

However, I have never used the abbreviation wid (or similar), except in genealogical documents when documenting historical ancestors rather than living people.


I think the commonly used abbreviation of widow is wid.

As for referring or talking to a widow, we can use the word Mrs., for example, "How are you today, Mrs. Brown". I think we can also use the word madam to address a widow.

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