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[vik-suh n] /ˈvɪk sən/
a female fox.
an ill-tempered or quarrelsome woman.
Origin of vixen
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)
Related forms
vixenish, vixenly, adjective
2. shrew, scold, virago, harpy, termagant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for vixen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Was she vixen or fool, this fair snake woman with the beautiful face, for whose smile the officers risked death and disgrace?

  • "I wonder what that vixen has said to her," he thought, as he turned in for the night.

  • They sat there looking back at the beautiful scene, as the vixen passed down the harbor.

  • The vixen warned him repeatedly; and she herself, after giving the signal “Hide!”

    Creatures of the Night Alfred W. Rees
  • "Not for the likes of her," retorted the vixen, with her red arms a-kimbo.

    Rose Clark Fanny Fern
  • This was to him a grand discovery, for, in anticipation, cubs and vixen were already his.

    Welsh Folk-Lore Elias Owen
  • Aye, indeed, what would become of his vixen and her children?

    Lady Into Fox David Garnett
  • I told him that for all her religion she seemed to me to have a deal of the vixen in her.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • In the important temple of Pacha-camac (the spiritual deity of Peru) they worshipped a she-fox or vixen and an emerald.

British Dictionary definitions for vixen


a female fox
a quarrelsome or spiteful woman
Derived Forms
vixenish, adjective
vixenishly, adverb
vixenishness, noun
vixenly, adverb, adjective
Word Origin
C15: fixen; related to Old English fyxe, feminine of fox; compare Old High German fuhsīn
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
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Word Origin and History for vixen

Old English *fyxen (implied in adjective fyxan), fem. of fox (see fox, and cf. Middle High German vühsinne, German füchsin). Solitary English survival of the Germanic feminine suffix -en, -in (cf. Old English gyden "goddess;" mynecen "nun," from munuc "monk;" wlyfen "she-wolf"). The figurative sense "ill-tempered woman" is attested from 1570s. The spelling shift from -f- to -v- began late 1500s (see V).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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