termagant

[tur-muh-guhnt]

noun

a violent, turbulent, or brawling woman.
(initial capital letter) a mythical deity popularly believed in the Middle Ages to be worshiped by the Muslims and introduced into the morality play as a violent, overbearing personage in long robes.

adjective

violent; turbulent; brawling; shrewish.

Origin of termagant

1175–1225; Middle English Termagaunt, earlier Tervagaunt, alteration of Old French Tervagan name of the imaginary deity
Related formster·ma·gant·ly, adverb

Synonyms for termagant

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Historical Examples of termagant


British Dictionary definitions for termagant

termagant

noun

  1. a shrewish woman; scold
  2. (as modifier)a termagant woman
Derived Formstermagancy, nountermagantly, adverb

Word Origin for termagant

C13: from earlier Tervagaunt, from Old French Tervagan, from Italian Trivigante; after an arrogant character in medieval mystery plays who was supposed to be a Muslim deity
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

Word Origin and History for termagant
n.

c.1500, "violent, overbearing person" (especially of women), from Teruagant, Teruagaunt (c.1200), name of a fictitious Muslim deity appearing in medieval morality plays, from Old French Tervagant, a proper name in "Chanson de Roland" (c.1100), of uncertain origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper