har·​ri·​dan | \ ˈher-ə-dən How to pronounce harridan (audio) , ˈha-rə- \

Definition of harridan

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Examples of harridan in a Sentence

if you were married to that harridan, you, too, would take to drink
Recent Examples on the Web Allen’s account paints Mia Farrow as an abusive, baby-crazed harridan who beat and brainwashed her many children. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, 25 Mar. 2020 Still, for a generation brought up to smile in the face of almost any affront or risk being tarred as a harridan, older women’s indignation seems ripe for reassessment. New York Times, 30 July 2019 Surely Socrates, married to that many-years-younger harridan Xanthippe, would be in line for a Nobel. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, 11 May 2018 Better yet, the pervasive myth that women become shriveled harridans after 30 couldn’t be further from the truth. Alana Massey, SELF, 19 Dec. 2017 The praise was largely glowing for Janney’s turn as Tonya Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden, a harridan with a sharp tongue and, at times, a parakeet on her shoulder. Richard Lawson, HWD, 15 Sep. 2017 As the dispossessed Queen Margaret, whose prophetic curses haunt the play, Ms. Redgrave is not the usual shrieking harridan but a bone-weary old woman, whose madness is steeped in a quiet, blisteringly bitter fatalism. Ben Brantley, New York Times, 1 Aug. 2016 Fricka, Wotan’s wife, sung with molten tone by Jamie Barton, isn’t the traditional harridan, but sober and wounded. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 2 June 2017 At Goodspeed, Kristine Zbornik, as Albert’s comic harridan of a smothering matriarch, just about stops the show with her rendition. Sylviane Gold, New York Times, 12 Aug. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harridan.' 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 harridan

1678, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for harridan

perhaps modification of French haridelle old horse, gaunt woman

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The first known use of harridan was in 1678

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Cite this Entry

“Harridan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harridan. Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for harridan



English Language Learners Definition of harridan

old-fashioned + literary : an angry and unpleasant woman


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