follow Dictionary.com

What is the X in X-mas?

Harpy

[hahr-pee] /ˈhɑr pi/
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
Related forms
harpylike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for harpylike

harpy

/ˈhɑːpɪ/
noun (pl) -pies
1.
a cruel grasping woman
Word Origin
C16: from Latin Harpyia, from Greek Harpuiai the Harpies, literally: snatchers, from harpazein to seize

Harpy

/ˈhɑːpɪ/
noun (pl) -pies
1.
(Greek myth) a ravenous creature with a woman's head and trunk and a bird's wings and claws
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 harpylike

harpy

n.

late 14c., from Old French harpie (14c.), from Greek Harpyia (plural), literally "snatchers," probably related to harpazein "to snatch" (see rapid). Metaphoric extension to "greedy person" is c.1400.

In Homer they are merely personified storm winds, who were believed to have carried off any person that had suddenly disappeared. In Hesiod they are fair-haired and winged maidens who surpass the winds in swiftness, and are called Aello and Ocypete; but in later writers they are represented as disgusting monsters, with heads like maidens, faces pale with hunger, and claws like those of birds. The harpies ministered to the gods as the executors of vengeance. ["American Cyclopædia," 1874]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for Harpy

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for harpylike

0
0
Scrabble Words With Friends