Meaning of Dolly Varden in English:

Dolly Varden

Pronunciation /ˈvɑːd(ə)n/


  • 1

    (also Dolly Varden hat)
    A large hat with one side drooping and with a floral trimming, formerly worn by women.

    ‘Doubtless also they deck out their mothers and wives and sisters in serge gowns and Dolly Varden hats.’
    • ‘She had on a green Dolly Varden hat with a crimson plume.’
    • ‘The bridesmaids wore full picture dresses of pale green organza with silver stripe, Dolly Varden hats in organdie to match and they carried bouquets of white roses and lilies of the valley.’
  • 2A brightly spotted edible charr (fish) occurring in fresh water on both sides of the North Pacific.

    Salvelinus malma, family Salmonidae

    ‘However, southern Dolly Varden originating from nonlake systems must seek a lake in which to winter.’
    • ‘In 1980, scientists discovered that bull trout and Dolly Vardens are slightly different species.’
    • ‘Freshwater Dolly Varden can live to be as old as 16 and most spend their lives in streams or lakes.’
    • ‘It is doubtful that much more than 50 percent of the Dolly Varden live to spawn a second time.’
    • ‘For the first three to four years, small Dolly Vardens remain in their native streams.’
    • ‘In August and September, the Dolly Vardens follow the spawning salmon into the freshwater rivers, feeding on salmon eggs and hapless salmon fingerlings.’
    • ‘Fishing is also very good with record-sized Dolly Vardens being caught continuously.’
    • ‘Young Dolly Vardens rear in streams before beginning their first migration to sea.’
    • ‘We caught tons of salmon, some Dolly Vardens, and even a rogue Steelhead (which we threw back).’
    • ‘As the salmon begin to leave, or spawn and die, the rainbows, Dolly Vardens and grayling reap a harvest of salmon eggs and bits of flesh.’
    • ‘There is little or no subsistence harvesting of Dolly Varden charr from the Firth River.’
    • ‘Southern Dolly Varden reach a maximum size of fifteen to twenty-two inches in length and four pounds in weight.’
    • ‘Cast a line for Rainbows and Dolly Vardens in streams only 50 yards from your cabin.’
    • ‘The Dolly Varden is found in the fresh and salt waters of North America and eastern Asia.’
    • ‘The eastern Rocky Mountains do not have Dolly Vardens because of the 2,000-mile distance down the Mississippi River.’
    • ‘Considered an excellent rainbow trout fishery, the lake also fishes well for Dolly Vardens during the Sockeye Run in August.’
    • ‘The Kenai and Russian Rivers are noted salmon runs but are fished for the hearty rainbow trout and Dolly Vardens that feed upon the salmon's eggs.’


Late 19th century from the name of a character in Dickens's Barnaby Rudge, who wore a similar hat.