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Thu., Aug. 23, 2012, 2:10 a.m.

A Word A Day — dundrearies

August 23, 2012

Word of the Day

  • dundrearies
  • audio pronunciation
  • \dun-DREER-eez\

noun plural

: long flowing sideburns

Many of the Civil War reenactors were sporting dundrearies to give their costumes a look of authenticity.

"Although as a Victorian man he lacks the vocabulary to express it, he is living out the existentialist crisis, confronting absurdity and nothingness in cravat and dundrearies." — From Thomas C. Foster's 2008 book How to Read Novels Like a Professor: A Jaunty Exploration of the World's Favorite Literary Form


In the United States, Our American Cousin by Tom Taylor is often best remembered as the play Abraham Lincoln was watching at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Word lovers may also recall that the show gave us "dundrearies," a name for the long, bushy sideburns (called "Piccadilly weepers" in England). The term for that particular men's hair fashion, which was popular between 1840 and 1870, comes from the name of Lord Dundreary, a character in the play who sported those elegant whiskers. The name can also be used in the attributive form "dundreary whiskers."


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.