\ ˈshrü How to pronounce shrew (audio) , 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


shrewed; shrewing; shrews

Definition of shrew (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: curse

Other Words from shrew


shrewlike \ ˈshrü-​ˌlīk How to pronounce shrew (audio) \ adjective

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 Bill Clinton got to come out looking like a cool guy, Hillary looked like a shrew. ELLE, 11 Apr. 2022 Marty the nebbish, Ike the shyster, Phyllis the shrew. Judy Berman, Time, 8 Nov. 2021 But Allison is turned into another stereotype, the tedious, finger-wagging shrew. The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 The occasional mouse or shrew will come through, and the real hunters in the family — Winchester, Hugo and Cheyenne — will hunt them relentlessly. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, 24 July 2021 Unfortunately, the shrew had a number of apocalypse-friendly adaptations humans have since lost. Cody Cassidy, Wired, 9 Apr. 2021 The idea behind these projects tends to follow a formula: this woman wasn’t always a monster, a harpy, a shrew. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 19 Sep. 2020 The elephant shrew has been rediscovered in Africa after 50 years. Brett Harman, CNN, 21 Aug. 2020 Smith and paleontologist Kenneth Angielczyk turned instead to 16 hero shrew specimens already in the Field Museum’s collections. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Apr. 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of shrew


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


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shrew


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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Shrew.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for shrew


\ ˈshrü How to pronounce shrew (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on shrew

Nglish: Translation of shrew for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shrew for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about shrew


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