Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 08:36:24 +0000 From: Victoria Neufeldt Subject: Re: Widow's Weeds I was surprised to learn that "widow's weeds" was unknown to people. Although it certainly isn't as common as it was, and the custom of wearing mourning is no longer widespread, I would not be surprised to encounter it in everyday text. To check this out, I went through the Merriam citation files for "weed(s)" -- which was quite a chore, given all the different meanings. I found cites as recent as 1993. Excerpts from a few cites (including one from _Time_ with a totally contemporary context): Conor Cruise O'Brian, writing in _The Atlantic_, Jan, 1993: ". . . were a bit cynical about those widow's weeds and about some of the contexts in which she paraded them." Francine Russo, in _The Village Voice_, Sept 28, 1993: "The three grieving Theban widows, who set the plot in motion with a plea to Athenian Duke Theseus for redress, trail black weeds worthy of a Victorian bordello." Eudora Welty, _One Writer's Beginnings_, 1983: "At that point, Mrs. McWillie, that stern fourth-grade teacher, would let her children close their books, and she would move, broad in widow's weeds like darkness itself, to the window and by what light there was she would stand and read aloud 'The King of the Golden River.' " "The Secret Weapon," _Time Magazine_, Oct 14, 1985: "Few outside the Kremlin knew if Yuri Adropov even had a wife until Tatyana, dressed in widow's weeds, appeared at her husband's bier."