vixen

[vik-suhn]
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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


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Historical Examples of vixenish


British Dictionary definitions for vixenish

vixen

noun
  1. a female fox
  2. a quarrelsome or spiteful woman
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 vixenish

vixen

n.

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper