Trend Watch

Democratic Women Wear White in Honor of Suffragettes

Lookups for 'suffragette' spiked after a group of Democratic women wore white to Trump's address

Suffragette (“a woman who advocates for voting rights for women”) was one of our top lookups on February 28th, 2017, after a number of Democratic women wore white to the president's address to a joint session of Congress.


'Suffrage' comes from the Latin 'suffragium' ("vote," "support," or "prayer").

Democratic women are wearing white to honor the suffragettes who won women the right to vote. Red is traditionally the preferred color for such events — the better to show up on camera.
—Carl Hulse, The New York Times (live analysis), 8:55 PM, 28 Mar. 2017

Despite the similarity in sound, suffragette does not come from suffer; the word comes from the earlier English word suffrage, which is from the Latin suffragium (“vote,” “support,” “prayer”). The word has been in use since the late 19th century.

The Boston Herald says the woman suffragettes talk all around Abby Smith’s barn-yard.
Hartford Daily Courant (Hartford, CT), 29 May, 1874

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