har·​py | \ˈhär-pē \
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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for harpy


bloodsucker, buzzard, kite, predator, shark, vampire, vulture, wolf



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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

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, "Nothing Comes Between Brooke Shields and Her New Line for QVC," 14 Mar. 2018 Katzner is an experienced bird handler and one of two working with the harpy. Dana Oland, idahostatesman, "Birds of Prey gets a rare addition and a multimillion-dollar expansion | Idaho Statesman," 12 Mar. 2018 The Silk Road’s Rayy bowl Excavating at Rayy, near Tehran, in the 1930s, Penn archaeologists uncovered a 12th or 13th century stonepaste bowl featuring crescent moons and a fearsome harpy. Stephan Salisbury, Philly.com, "Penn Museum's Middle East Galleries reopen: Behold, the queen's beer straw," 19 Apr. 2018 About the harpy Harpy eagles are native to Panama’s Darien Gap, a 4 million acre swath of roadless rainforest. Dana Oland, idahostatesman, "Birds of Prey gets a rare addition and a multimillion-dollar expansion | Idaho Statesman," 12 Mar. 2018 Alice Glass is a ghostly presence, a shrieking harpy that'll rip your soul or your body. Kat Bein, Billboard, "15 Horrifying Dance Songs for Your Halloween Playlist," 26 Oct. 2017 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, "Our Villains, Ourselves: A Thriller Roundup," 25 Oct. 2017 These women are ball-busting bitches, cunning liars, and power-hungry harpies (see, for example, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Michelle Obama). Jill Filipovic, Cosmopolitan, "The Infantilization of Adult Professional Women," 10 Oct. 2017 The Tyler Durden Fight Club alt-right idolizes Putin as a bare-chested manly man, as opposed to a metrosexual like Obama and an emasculating harpy like Hillary. James Wolcott, The Hive, "Why the Alt-Left Is a Problem, Too," 19 June 2017

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.

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First Known Use of harpy

1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for harpy

Latin Harpyia, from Greek

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Time Traveler for harpy

The first known use of harpy was in 1513

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English Language Learners Definition of harpy

Harpy : an evil creature in Greek mythology that is part woman and part bird

: an angry and unpleasant woman

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Comments on harpy

What made you want to look up harpy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


noxious or harmful

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