A '''widow''' is a [[woman]] whose [[spouse]] has died. A [[man]] whose spouse has died is a '''widower'''. The state of having lost one's spouse to death is termed '''widowhood''' or (occasionally) '''viduity'''. The adjective is '''widowed'''.
The economic position of widows has been an important social issue in many societies. In societies in which the husband was typically the sole provider, his death could plunge his family into [[poverty]]. This was aggravated by women's longer life spans, and that men generally marry women younger than themselves. Many [[charities]] existed to help widows and [[orphans]] (often, not children without parents, but children without a contributing father) in need.