har·​py | \ ˈhär-pē How to pronounce harpy (audio) \
plural harpies

Definition of harpy

1 capitalized : a foul malign creature in Greek mythology that is part woman and part bird
2a : a predatory person : leech
b : a shrewish woman

Examples of harpy in a Sentence

in fairy tales stepmothers are often portrayed as harpies who make the lives of their stepchildren miserable having just started to make it really big in the music business, he found himself surrounded by a flock of harpies greedy for a piece of the action
Recent Examples on the Web Those kinds of sentiments have multiplied on social media, which has exploded with memes in recent days calling the four everything from terrorists to harpies to cancer. Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times, 27 July 2019 Others portrayed her as a harpy, a notoriously disagreeable mythical beast that was half bird-of-prey, half woman. The Economist, 9 Nov. 2019 The clergy and royal courts in days of yore used images of griffins, hellmouths, harpies, dragons and sea swine to instill fear, to divide anxious populations, to assert dominance and control, and to ostracize non-Europeans. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, 1 Sep. 2019 Elizabeth Moss, as Claire, has based her career playing sad-sacks and harpies, in Mad Men, The Square, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Her Smell; so Moss is a comic actress by default. Armond White, National Review, 9 Aug. 2019 There are fairies and nymphs, unicorns, harpies, giants, ogres, trolls, Gollums and dragons. Patti Restivo, baltimoresun.com, 14 June 2019 But maybe these women aren’t evil vixens or cold-hearted harpies. Andrea Bartz, Marie Claire, 25 Feb. 2019 Teri Terrific, as she was known among friends, was much maligned in the film industry as a harpy who exploited Ms. Shields and turned her into an unprotesting meal ticket. Ruth La Ferla, New York Times, 14 Mar. 2018 The Victorian fascination with madness gave us an indelible squad of deranged harpies (Miss Havisham, Bertha Rochester, Lady Audley, to name a few). Marisha Pessl, New York Times, 25 Oct. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harpy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of harpy

1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for harpy

Latin Harpyia, from Greek

Learn More About harpy

Dictionary Entries Near harpy

harpway tuning


harpy bat

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Statistics for harpy

Cite this Entry

“Harpy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harpy. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on harpy

Nglish: Translation of harpy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about harpy


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