Black widow

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 20 20:48:05 UTC 2014

I was expecting it much earlier, and possibly it's been around for awhile.
But there is now a migrated term from the Russian Chechen war. Russian
military have been referring to female suicide bombers as "black widows"
since the early 1980 (both in Afghanistan and Chechnya). These are usually
fairly young childless widows of fallen Islamic fighters. There might be
sone variations, but the militants have some odd moral restrictions who may
or may not become a martyr in this fashion. For example, they may have a
proscription against using children, but they might use someone who would
be viewed by Western standards as a child. I don't know the full set of
restrictions, but it's really beside the point. I suspect, there has been
some period fiction that's adapted the term -- I've seen it in Russian
literature since the late 1980s and in film since about 1993. I haven't
search for any appearances in English yet, but wanted to flag this as
something to be aware of.


The American Dialect Society -

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