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2017 Word of the Year

vixen

[vik-suh n] /ˈvɪk sən/
noun
1.
a female fox.
2.
an ill-tempered or quarrelsome woman.
3.
a woman considered to be sexually attractive.
Origin of vixen
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English (south); replacing earlier fixen, Middle English (north), for Old English fyxe, feminine of fox fox (compare fyxen (adjective) “pertaining to a fox,” Old High German fuhsin (noun) “vixen”)
Related forms
vixenish, vixenly, adjective
Synonyms
2. shrew, scold, virago, harpy, termagant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for vixen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "We don't scare worth a cent," she snapped, with the virulence of a vixen.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • "I wonder what that vixen has said to her," he thought, as he turned in for the night.

  • If you should make a match with her, she is a very likely creature, though a vixen, as you say.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • The vixen growled, and, picking up her prey, carried it to the bramble-clump.

    Creatures of the Night Alfred W. Rees
  • The vixen warned him repeatedly; and she herself, after giving the signal “Hide!”

    Creatures of the Night Alfred W. Rees
  • He began to fear that that much bepraised dame was something of a vixen after all.

    Peak and Prairie Anna Fuller
  • The vixen falls into a hole which she does not see, so bent is she on controverting her husband.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • And if you're looking for the vixen's room, it's where you bunked before.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • This was to him a grand discovery, for, in anticipation, cubs and vixen were already his.

    Welsh Folk-Lore Elias Owen
British Dictionary definitions for vixen

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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for 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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