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vixen

[vik-suh n]
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noun
  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

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2. shrew, scold, virago, harpy, termagant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vixenish

Historical Examples

  • He offered his hand to her, sheepishly, and she gave it a vixenish slap.

    That Girl Montana

    Marah Ellis Ryan

  • And yet shes a pretty minx, too, if she hadnt such a vixenish temper!

  • Steve began to scowl and a vixenish smile hovered at Isom's lips.

    The Last Stetson

    John Fox Jr.

  • She dreaded the vixenish Miss Sugg less than the too complaisant manager.

  • She was vixenish, she was selfish, she was dishonest and grasping; but she was religious.

    The End Of The World

    Edward Eggleston


British Dictionary definitions for vixenish

vixen

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

Word Origin

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper