[ tur-muh-guhnt ]
/ ˈtɜr mə gənt /


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.


violent; turbulent; brawling; shrewish.

Nearby words

  1. term limits,
  2. term of art,
  3. term paper,
  4. term policy,
  5. term.,
  6. termagantly,
  7. terman,
  8. termer,
  9. terminable,
  10. terminal

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for termagant

British Dictionary definitions for termagant


/ (ˈtɜːməɡənt) /


  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



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