Harpy

Harpy

[hahr-pee]
noun, plural Harpies.
1.
Classical Mythology. a ravenous, filthy monster having a woman's head and a bird's body.
2.
(lowercase) a scolding, nagging, bad-tempered woman; shrew.
3.
(lowercase) a greedy, predatory person.

Origin:
< Latin Harpȳia, singular of Harpȳiae < Greek Hárpȳiai (plural), literally, snatchers, akin to harpázein to snatch away

harpylike, adjective
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World English Dictionary
harpy (ˈhɑːpɪ)
 
n , pl -pies
a cruel grasping woman
 
[C16: from Latin Harpyia, from Greek Harpuiai the Harpies, literally: snatchers, from harpazein to seize]

Harpy (ˈhɑːpɪ)
 
n , pl -pies
Greek myth a ravenous creature with a woman's head and trunk and a bird's wings and claws

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Word Origin & History

harpy
late 14c., from Gk. Harpyia (pl.), lit. "snatchers," probably related to harpazein "to snatch" (see rapid). In Homer, personification of whirlwinds and hurricanes; in Hesiod called sisters of Aello and Iris; later represented as ministers of divine vengeance: winged, clawed
monsters with female heads and bodies. Metaphoric extension to "greedy person" is c.1400.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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