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The term assigned to any ill-conceived device that can leave exposed lethal (mains) voltages.
NEVER make (or use) a widowmaker.
Such a device could be:
- An 'extension' lead made with a plug (with exposed pins) on both ends. Once the first plug had been plugged into the mains, the plug on the other end (with the exposed pins) becomes live.
- A Y-shaped cable made with two 13A plugs and a 32A Ceeform socket, with the intention of getting enough power for a dimmer from a final ring circuit.
People frequently try to justify making a widowmaker as "only they will be using it". Unless they live in their own private reality this can not be guaranteed. If you ever come across one, for everyone's good, please destroy it.