[1940s+; fr a character in the popular comic strip ''Terry and the Pirates,'' which originated in the 1930s]
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D. Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers. Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with dragon-lady
A domineering or belligerent woman, as in They called her the neighborhood dragon lady—she was always yelling at the children. This slangy term was originally the name of a villainous Asian woman in Milton Caniff's popular cartoon strip Terry and the Pirates (1934–1973), which ran in many newspapers. It was transferred to more general use in the mid-1900s.