We consider the problem of formalizing in higher-order logic the familiar notion of widening from abstract interpretation. It turns out that many axioms of widening (e.g. widening sequences are ascending) are not useful for proving correctness. After keeping only useful axioms, we give an equivalent characterization of widening as a lazily constructed well-founded tree. In type systems supporting dependent products and sums, this tree can be made to reflect the condition of correct termination of the widening sequence.