February 04, 2016

A question of definition

I'm a big fan of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books. About half the books in my Kindle are from that series. But just now I ran into something I'd noted before, and I'd like to ask your opinion.

In Too Many Cooks we meet Marko Vukcic's ex-wife. And she

In The Black Mountain Archie describes Marko as being a widower. So that's the question: if a man is divorced and his ex-wife then dies, does he count as a widower?

My initial reaction is "no". A widower is someone whose wife dies while he's still married to her. But that may not be the only answer. What do you think?

UPDATE: The dictionary says:

a man who has lost his spouse by death and has not remarried.

But he didn't lose his wife by death; he lost her by divorce.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Entertainment at 01:40 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 If I remember correctly Archie is not a lawyer or even all that well educated. There's no reason to expect him to use the term with legal precision.

Posted by: Jonathan Tappan at February 04, 2016 04:31 PM (Bkf8Y)


In the story "Fourth of July Picnic" Archie says he attended one week of college and decided it was for the birds.

However, he's spent a couple of decades listening to Wolfe's table talk and sure he must have learned quite a lot from it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at February 04, 2016 07:29 PM (+rSRq)

3 Archie's a bit interesting. He's not terribly worldly or high minded but he's very good at what he does. Wolf is certainly a good influence on him. He's very much a blue collar Watson in attitude.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at February 04, 2016 11:24 PM (AaBUm)

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