virago

play
noun vi·ra·go \və-ˈrä-(ˌ)gō, -ˈrā-; ˈvir-ə-ˌgō\

Definition of virago

plural

viragoes

or

viragos

  1. 1 :  a loud overbearing woman :  termagant

  2. 2 :  a woman of great stature, strength, and courage

viraginous

play \və-ˈra-jə-nəs\ adjective

Examples of virago in a sentence

  1. <fairy tales that typically portray stepmothers as viragoes>

Did You Know?

The original Latin meaning of virago was "female warrior". But in later centuries the meaning shifted toward the negative. The most famous virago in English literature is the ferocious Kate in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Some historical viragoes have also become famous. Agrippina poisoned her husband, the Emperor Claudius, so that her son Nero could take his place (but it was Nero himself who eventually had her assassinated). And Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, a powerful virago of the 12th century, was imprisoned by her husband, King Henry II of England, after she encouraged their sons to rebel against him. Today some people are beginning to use virago admiringly again.

Origin and Etymology of virago

Middle English, from Latin viragin-, virago, from vir man — more at virile


First Known Use: 14th century


VIRAGO Defined for English Language Learners

virago

play
noun vi·ra·go \və-ˈrä-(ˌ)gō, -ˈrā-; ˈvir-ə-ˌgō\

Definition of virago for English Language Learners

  • : an angry woman who often complains about and criticizes other people


Learn More about virago


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to strike by flicking the finger outward

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • hot-dog--hot-dog--hot-dog--hot-dog-cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ