Definition of vixen
1 : a female fox
2 : a shrewish, ill-tempered woman When Arabella called her a treacherous vixen and a heartless, profligate hussy, she spoke out freely, and said that she wasn't going to be abused. — Anthony Trollope
3 informal : a sexually attractive woman In this spy spoof, our hero, aided by a sexy vixen, … saves the world from a power-mad despot … — Steven Rebello
vixenishplay \-s(ə-)nish\ adjective
Examples of vixen in a Sentence
why anyone puts up with that vixen's sharp tongue is beyond me
Recent Examples of vixen from the Web
In Friday sermons at mosques around the country, their names were read aloud, and they were denounced as immoral vixens, boldly seeking to destroy Saudi society.
Meanwhile Stevens does a superb job in playing the vixen, Lola, who pulls out all the stops to help Applegate win his bet.
And Browning must play the toughest role of all—a mercurial mix of ingenue with just a soupçon of vixen.
Drop Dead Divas At the Netflix/Weinstein party, Naomi Campbell, in a lavender gown, draped herself dramatically across a banquette—the way only a supermodel can—alongside Joan Collins and 80s soap-opera vixen Donna Mills.
Then, remarkably, the color, or lack thereof, was cropping up on heads of women on the other side of 30, with vixens fictional (HBO’s Dragon Queen Daenerys Targaryen) and real (movie queen Jennifer Lawrence) achieving heat with ice.
Her breakout role on teen quality television, a bisexual vixen on The O. C.?
Teenyboppers, vixens, backstage Bettys, super-groupies: there was never a shortage.
As part of a more sophisticated marketing campaign, Lyons Ice Cream Kup hired slender young women — the progenitors of KFC's chicken vixens — to consume its frozen product from their windowsills:
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vixen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
vixens and foxes
Vixen literally refers to a female fox, but it has two very distinctive extended meanings: “a shrew” and “a sexy woman.” How is it that the word took such semantically divergent paths?
The “combative, bad-tempered woman” sense has a very long history in our language, going back as far as the 16th century and extending well into the 20th. It may be found in Shakespeare and Swift as well as in latter-day descriptions of mothers-in-law and the names of gun boats. By mid-century, however, vixen begins to be used of glamorous and attractive women. Perhaps its application to female characters who combined combative and seductive qualities led to the word's reinterpretation. Or perhaps it was influenced by fox, another term for an attractive young woman that made its appearance in English around this time.
Origin and Etymology of vixen
Middle English (southern dialect) *vixen, alteration of Middle English fixen, from Old English fyxe, feminine of fox
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
VIXEN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of vixen for English Language Learners
: a female fox
: an angry and unpleasant woman
: a sexually attractive woman
VIXEN Defined for Kids
Definition of vixen for Students
: a female fox
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up vixen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).