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[vi-rah-goh, -rey-] /vɪˈrɑ goʊ, -ˈreɪ-/
noun, plural viragoes, viragos.
a loud-voiced, ill-tempered, scolding woman; shrew.
Archaic. a woman of strength or spirit.
Origin of virago
before 1000; Middle English, Old English < Latin virāgō, equivalent to vir man + -āgō suffix expressing association of some kind, here resemblance
1. scold, nag, termagant, harpy, Xanthippe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for virago
Historical Examples
  • "You stay right where you are, Teddy dearie," the virago commanded.

    I Walked in Arden Jack Crawford
  • I stood upon the defensive between the virago and my sister's chair.

    Down The River Oliver Optic
  • virago and shrew as she was, she could not look at him as he lay there so death-like, without a feeling of compassion.

    Watch--Work--Wait Sarah A. Myers
  • He would have crimsoned to the eyes, no doubt, and fled from the virago.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • It would expend too much precious fuel and leave them stranded for life on virago XI^a.

    Once a Greech Evelyn E. Smith
  • Ah, you coolly come, with that virago on your arm, to make a fool of me before everyone.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • There was a portentous frown upon her brow; and really, she seemed somewhat of the virago type.

  • On which the virago says to her victim, "My dear, I thocht it was yersel'!"

    The Book-Hunter John Hill Burton
  • It is the worst insult one virago can cast upon another in a moment of altercation.

    Astoria Washington Irving
  • "You're a virago," said Chris, seating himself near his wife.

    The Beloved Woman Kathleen Norris
British Dictionary definitions for virago


noun (pl) -goes, -gos
a loud, violent, and ill-tempered woman; scold; shrew
(archaic) a strong, brave, or warlike woman; amazon
Derived Forms
viraginous (vɪˈrædʒɪnəs) adjective
virago-like, adjective
Word Origin
Old English, from Latin: a manlike maiden, from vir a man
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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Word Origin and History for virago

late 14c., "man-like or heroic woman," from Latin virago, from vir "man" (see virile). Ælfric (c.1000), following Vulgate, used it in Gen. ii:23 (KJV = woman):

Beo hire nama Uirago, þæt is, fæmne, forðan ðe heo is of hire were genumen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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