scarlet woman

See synonyms for scarlet woman on
  1. a sexually promiscuous woman, especially a prostitute or a woman who commits adultery.

  2. a symbol of pagan Rome or, derogatorily, of the church of Rome.

Origin of scarlet woman

First recorded in 1810–20; from Revelations 17:1-6 in the Bible, in which the whore of Babylon is described as dressed in scarlet and purple Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use scarlet woman in a sentence

  • She was the scarlet woman of mid-19th century Paris, damned by her contemporaries and by literary historians ever since.

  • Then we're going to celebrate by taking him over to the theater and making him see 'The scarlet woman.'

    The Witness | Grace Livingston Hill Lutz
  • To the non-compromiser, the "scarlet woman" is a symbol of the lowest depth of vice, and no condemnation is too severe for her.

  • Mrs Stumfold had once met Mr Paul, and called him to his face the most abject of all the slaves of the scarlet woman.

    Miss Mackenzie | Anthony Trollope
  • To the sophisticated its allurements are those of the scarlet woman, to the innocent its voice is the voice of Joy.

    Little Lost Sister | Virginia Brooks

British Dictionary definitions for scarlet woman

scarlet woman

  1. 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

  2. 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

Other 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.