"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[hahr-i-dn] /ˈhɑr ɪ dn/
a scolding, vicious woman; hag; shrew.
Origin of harridan
1690-1700; perhaps alteration of French haridelle thin, worn-out horse, large, gaunt woman (compared with the initial element of haras stud farm, though derivation is unclear)
nag, virago, scold. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for harridan
  • Ann is a shrill, sarcastic harridan who has nothing pleasant to say as she makes her way to the gin bottle in the office bar.
  • She's a harridan of a manager-ripping through the staff, sacking many old stalwarts, and slashing operating costs.
  • Eddie is warmed by her sporty friendliness, especially in contrast to the harridan convalescing in his hotel bedroom.
British Dictionary definitions for harridan


a scolding old woman; nag
Word Origin
C17: of uncertain origin; perhaps related to French haridelle, literally: broken-down horse; of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for harridan

1700, "one that is half Whore, half Bawd" ["Dictionary of the Canting Crew"]; "a decayed strumpet" [Johnson], probably from French haridelle "a poore tit, or leane ill-favored jade," [Cotgrave, 1611], in French from 16c., of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for harridan

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for harridan

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with harridan

Nearby words for harridan