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scarlet woman

a sexually promiscuous woman, especially a prostitute or a woman who commits adultery.
a symbol of pagan Rome or, opprobriously, of the church of Rome. Rev. 17:1–6.
Origin of scarlet woman
First recorded in 1810-20 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for scarlet woman
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Historical Examples
  • Under the skirts of the scarlet woman, or where the magistrates bear not the sword in vain?

    The Long Night Stanley Weyman
  • A worshipper of the scarlet woman, intrigue is the very breath of his nostrils.

    Ulysses James Joyce
  • He had all the congregation fair shaking with indignation against the scarlet woman.

    A Lost Cause Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
  • It had a tirade also about the scarlet woman and Popish idolatry.

  • Bob truckles to the scarlet woman; he bows, and turns his honest, serious face to the east.

    Red as a Rose is She Rhoda Broughton
  • I have had that scarlet woman before me, and invited her to join us in our inspiring evening gatherings.

    A Book of Burlesques H. L. Mencken
  • Put roses into my coffin—scarlet roses, if you can find any, because that stands for scarlet woman—in the Bible, you know.

    Basil Wilkie Collins
  • That which (for lack of a better term to apply to it) we call the social evil is not confined to the scarlet woman of the streets.

    The Land of Tomorrow William B Stephenson, Jr.
  • Ef he seed the scarlet woman about in his part o' the country, he'd lay by an' h'ist her, an' you'd say, 'Well done!'

    The Astonishing History of Troy Town Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
British Dictionary definitions for scarlet woman

scarlet woman

(New Testament) a sinful woman described in Revelation 17, interpreted as a figure either of pagan Rome or of the Roman Catholic Church regarded as typifying vice overlaid with gaudy pageantry
any sexually promiscuous woman, esp a prostitute
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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Idioms and Phrases with scarlet woman

scarlet woman

A prostitute, an immoral woman, as in Malicious gossip had it that she was a scarlet woman, which was quite untrue. This expression first appeared in Revelation 17:5, describing Saint John's vision of a woman in scarlet clothes with an inscription on her forehead, “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” Some interpreters believe she stood for Rome, drunk with the blood of saints, but by about 1700 the term was being used more generally for a woman with loose morals.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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