Lookups spiked 6,200% on April 8, 2019
Following the overtime national championship victory by the University of Virginia men's basketball team, the team's name, Cavaliers, surged to the top of the dictionary lookup list.
Cavalier is both a noun and an adjective in English. The noun is older, dating to the late 1500s, and originally meant "a soldier who fights on horseback" and came to mean "a gallant courtly soldier" and then "a lady's escort or dancing partner."
As a proper noun, Cavalier has referred to the supporters of King Charles I of England in the 1640s and 1650s and subsequently to Virginians of the plantation-owning class.
As an adjective, cavalier means "having or showing no concern for something that is important or serious."
The Virginia colony of the mid-1600s was governed by English Cavaliers, who were loyal to King Charles I (in contrast with the Massachusetts colony of the same period, governed by Puritans) during the English Civil War. The name continued to be associated with Virginians, and was sometimes applied to Confederate soldiers during and after the American Civil War.
Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.
- On Contractions of Multiple Words
- A Look at Uncommon Onomatopoeia
- Is Singular 'They' a Better Choice?
- Words from Greek and Latin Quiz Take the quiz
- Name That Thing: Animal Edition Take the quiz
- True or False? Take the quiz
- SCRABBLE® Sprint Play the game