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vixen

[vik-suh n] /ˈvɪk sən/
noun
1.
a female fox.
2.
an ill-tempered or quarrelsome woman.
Origin
1375-1425
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
Synonyms
2. shrew, scold, virago, harpy, termagant.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for vixenly

vixen

/ˈvɪksən/
noun
1.
a female fox
2.
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 vixenly

vixen

n.

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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