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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 vixenish
Historical Examples
  • The deacon's wife grew sick, and the vile, vinegar-tongued, vixenish virago said that the deacon was an old brute.

  • He offered his hand to her, sheepishly, and she gave it a vixenish slap.

    That Girl Montana Marah Ellis Ryan
  • She was of too great a stateliness to put herself into ungraceful or vixenish attitudes.

    A Gentleman Player Robert Neilson Stephens
  • She dreaded the vixenish Miss Sugg less than the too complaisant manager.

    The Bartlett Mystery Louis Tracy
  • Lady Tester is a refutation of the theory, which must have been invented by a vixenish woman who was not clever.

    The Path Of Duty Henry James
  • She was vixenish, she was selfish, she was dishonest and grasping; but she was religious.

    The End Of The World Edward Eggleston
  • Played it from the moment he entered his house until the moment he daily disappeared, astride the vixenish undersized cayuse.

    Where the Trail Divides Will Lillibridge
  • There came a vixenish gleam into the old woman's faded eyes.

    The Wharf by the Docks Florence Warden
  • When he gave me his switch, the vixenish animal came at once into subjection to save herself a good whipping.

    Dulcibel Henry Peterson
  • Her eyes turned, and she fixed a vixenish look upon Miss Eunice.

British Dictionary definitions for vixenish


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
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Word Origin and History for vixenish



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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