1 [shroo]
a woman of violent temper and speech; termagant.

1200–50; Middle English; special use of shrew2

shrewlike, adjective

virago, nag, scold. Unabridged


2 [shroo]
any of several small, mouselike insectivores of the genus Sorex and related genera, having a long, sharp snout.

before 900; Middle English (only in compounds), Old English scrēawa Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shrew (ʃruː)
1.  See also water shrew Also called: shrewmouse any small mouse-like long-snouted mammal, such as Sorex araneus (common shrew), of the family Soricidae: order Insectivora (insectivores)Related: soricine
2.  a bad-tempered or mean-spirited woman
Related: soricine
[Old English scrēawa; related to Old High German scrawaz dwarf, Icelandic skröggr old man, Norwegian skrugg dwarf]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"small mammal," O.E. screawa "shrew-mouse," unknown outside English, perhaps from P.Gmc. *skreu- "to cut" (see shred). Alternative O.E. word for it was scirfemus, from sceorfan "to gnaw." The meaning "peevish, malignant, clamorous, spiteful, vexatious, turbulent woman" [Johnson]
is late 14c., from earlier sense of "spiteful person" (male or female), mid-13c., traditionally said to derive from some supposed malignant influence of the animal, which was once believed to have a venomous bite and was held in superstitious dread. Shrewish "scolding" is from 1560s, originally "wicked, evil" (late 14c.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
And then you have to be careful not to come off as the shrew or the heavy.
The gardens would not be all that this shrew notices.
It's clear that he will never accept that she's an evil, manipulative shrew.
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