Trend Watch

Harridan

Maureen McDonnell, wife of former Virginia Governor ...


When:

Lookups spiked on September 4, 2014.

Why:

Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were found guilty of corruption following a trial that exposed their private lives.

The defense contended that Mrs. McDonnell had a crush on a pharmaceutical executive in order to explain the money and gifts he gave her; she was described as a nagging and shrill wife to prove that the marriage was an unhappy one. The New York Times reported that Gov. McDonnell "portrayed her in his testimony as a harridan whose yelling left him 'spiritually and mentally exhausted'."

Harridan means "an angry and unpleasant woman," and is thought to come from the French word haridelle, meaning "old horse" or "gaunt woman."



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