shrew 1[shroo] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin See more synonyms for shrew on noun

  1. a woman of violent temper and speech; termagant.

Origin of shrew 1 1200–50; Middle English; special use of shrew2 Related formsshrew·like, adjectiveSynonyms for shrew See more synonyms for on virago, nag, scold. shrew 2[shroo] noun

  1. any of several small, mouselike insectivores of the genus Sorex and related genera, having a long, sharp snout.

Origin of shrew 2 before 900; Middle English (only in compounds), Old English scrēawa Related Words for shrew wench, fury, siren, hussy, bitch, hellion, carper, detractor, vixen, virago, nag, scold, battle-ax, biddy, harridan, harpy, madcap, termagant, backbiter, porcupine Examples from the Web for shrew Contemporary Examples of shrew

  • Read another way, she is a horrible mother, an uptight snob, and a bit of a shrew.

    Colm Toibin Describes The Creation Of His Quiet Masterpiece ‘Nora Webster’

    Jennie Yabroff

    November 3, 2014

  • All the parts for women are awful, and chauvinistic and they have to play a shrew.

    The Sex Scenes in ‘The Spectacular Now’ Are Awkward, Honest, and All Too Real

    Anna Klassen

    August 2, 2013

  • Her popularity is up, her guard is down, and her image as a shrew is a relic of the past.

    How Hillary Clinton Got Hot After Years of Being Stuck With a Cold Image

    Howard Kurtz

    April 13, 2012

  • Historical Examples of shrew

  • But Mirandy was no shrew; she was simply troubled about many things.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • The jade had to come to him, at last, completely subdued, as in the “Taming of the Shrew.”

    Blood and Iron

    John Hubert Greusel

  • His wife is a shrew, a termagant, who embitters every hour of his existence.

    The Lion’s Skin

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Columbine snapped like the shrew she masked: “You little sneak!”


    Louis Joseph Vance

  • The ii point is that, if a woman have a sharp nose, then most commenly she is a shrew.

    Shakespeare Jest-Books;


  • British Dictionary definitions for shrew shrew noun

    1. Also called: shrewmouse any small mouse-like long-snouted mammal, such as Sorex araneus (common shrew), of the family Soricidae: order Insectivora (insectivores)See also water shrew Related adjective: soricine
    2. a bad-tempered or mean-spirited woman

    Word Origin for shrew Old English scrēawa; related to Old High German scrawaz dwarf, Icelandic skröggr old man, Norwegian skrugg dwarf Word Origin and History for shrew n.

    small insectivorous mammal, Old English screawa “shrew-mouse,” unknown outside English, and “the absence of evidence for the word between the OE. period and the 16th c is remarkable” [OED]. Perhaps from Proto-Germanic *skraw-, from PIE *skreu- “to cut; cutting tool” (see shred (n.)), in reference to the shrew’s pointed snout. Alternative Old English word for it was scirfemus, from sceorfan “to gnaw.”

    The meaning “peevish, malignant, clamorous, spiteful, vexatious, turbulent woman” [Johnson] is late 14c., from earlier sense of “spiteful person” (male or female), mid-13c., traditionally said to derive from some supposed malignant influence of the animal, which was once believed to have a venomous bite and was held in superstitious dread (cf. beshrew). Paired with sheep from 1560s as the contrasting types of wives.

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