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  1. a female fox.
  2. an ill-tempered or quarrelsome woman.
  3. a woman considered to be sexually attractive.
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Origin of vixen

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 formsvix·en·ish, vix·en·ly, adjective

Synonyms for vixen

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for vixen

shrew, harpy, cat, harridan, witch, virago, termagant, she-devil, hellcat, dragon, Xanthippe

Examples from the Web for vixen

Contemporary Examples of vixen

Historical Examples of vixen

  • "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.

  • The vixen warned him repeatedly; and she herself, after giving the signal “Hide!”

British Dictionary definitions for vixen


  1. a female fox
  2. a quarrelsome or spiteful woman
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Derived Formsvixenish, adjectivevixenishly, adverbvixenishness, nounvixenly, adverb, adjective

Word Origin for vixen

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

Word Origin and History for vixen


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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper