Reno Divorce Glossary

Six Weeks in Nevada

Publicity about the Reno divorce generated its own terminology. The following Reno Divorce Glossary is reproduced in its entirety from THE DIVORCE SEEKERS: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler by William L. McGee and Sandra V. McGee.

A Spare                    Also known as “the cousin.” These were euphemistic names for the man a woman brought with her to Reno to keep her company for six weeks. The Spare was usually stashed away in a Reno hotel and sometimes the woman married her “Spare” after she got her divorce.

Alimony Park          The park across the street from the Washoe County Courthouse.

Bridge of Sighs         The  Truckee River Bridge where divorcees were said to toss their wedding rings into the Truckee River.

Divorce                       From the Latin divortium, to turn different ways, to separate.

Divorcé                       A man divorced

Divorcée                    A woman divorced

Divorce Capital of the World            Reno, Nevada

Divorce Mecca            Reno

Divorce Mill                Reno

Divorce Trade             Reno

Divorce Ranch            A uniquely Nevada term for a dude ranch that catered to divorce seekers usually from the wealthy or upper-classes.

Divorcée Special         A train bringing divorce seekers to Reno

Divorce Seekers           A term coined by the media in the 1930s for the thousands of women and men who came running to Reno for a six-week divorce.

Going Reno                 A term to describe divorce seekers on the loose in Reno.

Graduation Day          The day a divorce seeker went to court and got their divorce decree — or “graduated.”

I’m Going to Reno!    A popular phrase used by a wife or husband to announce to their spouse they were going to Reno for a divorce.

Quickie Divorce          A divorce granted after a six-week residency in Nevada.

“The Reno”                 A style of bra that both “separates and supports.” The name is attributed to Ruth Lusch, a colorful Reno publicist in the late 1940s.

Reno Divorce Colony      The mix of the Reno social set and the Eastern social set, the latter in Reno for a divorce.

Reno-vation                A term coined by Walter Winchell for the change that so-called despondent divorce seekers went through in Reno. Also “Reno-vated” and “Get Reno-vated.”

Serving Time and Doing Time    Six weeks in Reno

Severance Stay            Six weeks in Reno

Sin City                       Reno

Six-weekers                 Divorce seekers

State of Easy Divorce             Nevada

The Cure                     A media term for divorce.  Also “To Take the Cure”.

The Separator              Washoe County Courthouse

The Women’s Exchange         Washoe County Courthouse

Widow’s Corner         The Riverside Hotel Corner Bar next door to the Washoe County Courthouse. A meeting place for the Reno divorce colony.


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