Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

harridan

[hahr-i-dn]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a scolding, vicious woman; hag; shrew.

Origin of harridan

1690–1700; perhaps alteration of French haridelle thin, worn-out horse, large, gaunt woman (compared with the initial element of haras stud farm, though derivation is unclear)

Synonyms

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
nag, virago, scold.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for harridan

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for harridan

harridan

noun
  1. a scolding old woman; nag

Word Origin

C17: of uncertain origin; perhaps related to French haridelle, literally: broken-down horse; of obscure origin
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

Word Origin and History for harridan

n.

1700, "one that is half Whore, half Bawd" ["Dictionary of the Canting Crew"]; "a decayed strumpet" [Johnson], probably from French haridelle "a poore tit, or leane ill-favored jade," [Cotgrave, 1611], in French from 16c., of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper