Trend Watch

Dowager

When:

Lookups spiked on February 17, 2013.

Why:

A fictional dowager gained considerable media attention when the season finale of Downton Abbey aired on PBS and Dame Maggie Smith was interviewed on 60 Minutes.

On Downton Abbey, Smith plays Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham, the widowed matriarch of the Crawley family and a source of cutting wit.

Dowager means "a woman holding property or a title from her deceased husband." It comes through French from the Latin word meaning "to endow" and is related to dowry.

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
March 04, 2015
sprightly Hear it
Full of life and energy
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears