vixen

vixen

[vik-suhn]
noun
1.
a female fox.
2.
an ill-tempered or quarrelsome woman.

Origin:
1375–1425; late Middle English (south); replacing earlier fixen, Middle English (north), for Old English fyxe, feminine of fox fox (compare fyxen (adj.) pertaining to a fox, Old High German fuhsin (noun) vixen)

vixenish, vixenly, adjective


2. shrew, scold, virago, harpy, termagant.
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World English Dictionary
vixen (ˈvɪksən)
 
n
1.  a female fox
2.  a quarrelsome or spiteful woman
 
[C15: fixen; related to Old English fyxe, feminine of fox; compare Old High German fuhsīn]
 
'vixenish
 
adj
 
'vixenishly
 
adv
 
'vixenishness
 
n
 
'vixenly
 
adv, —adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

vixen
O.E. *fyxen (implied in adj. fyxan), fem. of fox (see fox, and cf. M.H.G. vühsinne, Ger. füchsin). Solitary English survival of the Germanic feminine suffix -en, -in (cf. O.E. gyden "goddess;" mynecen "nun," from munuc "monk;" wlyfen "she-wolf"). The fig. sense "ill-tempered
woman" is attested from 1575. The spelling shift from -f- to -v- began late 1500s (see V).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Synonyms
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