noun, plural Har·pies.
Origin of Harpy
Examples from the Web for harpy
All hove-to, so help me gosh—not more firing; Harpy take um all—dare gun boat hove-to, she strike um colours.Mr. Midshipman Easy|Captain Frederick Marryat
The wealth of Jacques Cœur was poured into the laps of Charles and his harpy courtiers, and the victim was consigned to oblivion.Barn and the Pyrenees|Louisa Stuart Costello
"That harpy hopes to fleece us," said Dalrymple, slipping his arm through mine and drawing me towards the roulette table.In the Days of My Youth|Amelia Ann Blandford Edwards
Any one who was listening to our conversation would get the impression that she was as ugly and voracious as a harpy.Poor Relations|Compton Mackenzie
Crest / an Irish harpy surcharged financially on the pounce proper."Mr Punch's" Book of Arms|Edward Tennyson Reed
British Dictionary definitions for harpy (1 of 2)
noun plural -pies
Word Origin for harpy
British Dictionary definitions for harpy (2 of 2)
noun plural -pies
Word Origin and History for harpy
late 14c., from Old French harpie (14c.), from Greek Harpyia (plural), literally "snatchers," probably related to harpazein "to snatch" (see rapid). Metaphoric extension to "greedy person" is c.1400.
In Homer they are merely personified storm winds, who were believed to have carried off any person that had suddenly disappeared. In Hesiod they are fair-haired and winged maidens who surpass the winds in swiftness, and are called Aello and Ocypete; but in later writers they are represented as disgusting monsters, with heads like maidens, faces pale with hunger, and claws like those of birds. The harpies ministered to the gods as the executors of vengeance. ["American Cyclopædia," 1874]