shrew

noun
\ˈshrü, especially Southern ˈsrü\

Definition of shrew 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of a family (Soricidae) of small chiefly nocturnal insectivores related to the moles and distinguished by a long pointed snout, very small eyes, and short velvety fur

2 : an ill-tempered scolding woman

shrew

verb
shrewed; shrewing; shrews

Definition of shrew (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

obsolete

: curse

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Other Words from shrew

Noun

shrewlike \ˈshrü-ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms for shrew

Synonyms: Noun

fury, virago, vixen

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Examples of shrew in a Sentence

Noun

Rip Van Winkle went off into the mountains to escape his wife, a shrew who made his life miserable.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Elephants and elephant cape shrews—which both keep their testes locked away in the abdomen—have internal body temperatures similar to those of humans. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "The Earliest Mammals Kept Their Cool With Descended Testicles," 28 June 2018 Director Alex Richanbach employs a sharp stylistic contrast between dim and dreary New York City and vibrant Spain, where Harper is sent by her shrew of a boss (Michaela Watkins) to land a sangria client. Katie Walsh, latimes.com, "Gillian Jacobs gets wild in girl-tripping comedy 'Ibiza'," 24 May 2018 Other predator groups such as bats, primates, shrews, hedgehogs, frogs, salamanders and lizards also seem to be valuable bug eaters but are less effective natural enemies of plant-eating insects. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Yum! Birds eat up to 550 million tons of insects each year," 9 July 2018 Other predator groups such as bats, primates, shrews, hedgehogs, frogs, salamanders and lizards also seem to be valuable bug eaters but are less effective natural enemies of plant-eating insects. Doyle Rice, ajc, "Yum! Birds eat up to 550 million tons of insects each year," 9 July 2018 As Susan, Jerry's soon-to-be wife who doesn't really want her wedding day to be a playground for grown men, Bibb could have easily been cast as the shrew trying to put an end to the fun. refinery29.com, "Tag Changed This One Major Detail For The Movie & Avoided A Horrible Trope," 15 June 2018 Shakespeare's preface framing the shrew-taming comedy as a play within a play is reconceived by Freed. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "South Coast Rep's 'Shrew!' trips along the rutted road of Shakespearean updates," 2 Apr. 2018 No one likes to get dumped, but Sarah is no shrew, and certainly not a villain. Tom Philip, GQ, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," 11 Mar. 2018 The surrounding players are exaggerated, one-note caricatures; Barrie’s wife is a superficial shrew, her lover is a fop, the grandmother is stern and matronly, the promoter has a perpetual glint in his eye and the actors are campy. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Circus scene is the highlight of a bland 'Neverland'," 21 Feb. 2018

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shrew

Noun

Middle English shrewe evil or scolding person, from Old English scrēawa shrew (animal)

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Dictionary Entries near shrew

shrend

Shreveport

Shreveporter

shrew

shrewd

shrewdy

shrewish

Statistics for shrew

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shrew

The first known use of shrew was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for shrew

shrew

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shrew

: a small animal that looks like a mouse with a long, pointed nose

: an unpleasant, bad-tempered woman

shrew

noun
\ˈshrü \

Kids Definition of shrew

1 : a small mouselike animal with a long pointed snout and tiny eyes that lives mostly on insects and worms

2 : an unpleasant woman with a bad temper

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Comments on shrew

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