from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various small, chiefly insectivorous mammals of the family Soricidae, resembling a mouse but having a long pointed snout and small eyes and ears. Also called shrewmouse.
  • n. A woman with a violent, scolding, or nagging temperament; a scold.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of numerous small mouselike, chiefly nocturnal, mammals of the family Soricidae.
  • n. An ill-tempered, nagging woman: a scold.
  • v. To beshrew; to curse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Wicked; malicious.
  • n. Originally, a brawling, turbulent, vexatious person of either sex, but now restricted in use to females; a brawler; a scold.
  • n. Any small insectivore of the genus Sorex and several allied genera of the family Sorecidæ. In form and color they resemble mice, but they have a longer and more pointed nose. Some of them are the smallest of all mammals.
  • transitive v. To beshrew; to curse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A wicked or evil person; a malignant person.
  • n. A woman of a perverse, violent, or malignant temper; a scold; a termagant.
  • n. An evil thing; a great danger.
  • n. A planet of evil or malignant aspect or influence.
  • Wicked; evil; ill-natured; unkind.
  • To make evil; deprave.
  • To curse; beshrew.
  • n. A small insectivorous mammal of the genus Sorex or family Soricidæ; a shrew-mouse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a scolding nagging bad-tempered woman
  • n. small mouselike mammal with a long snout; related to moles


Middle English shrewe, villian, from Old English scrēawa, shrewmouse.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English scrēawa, of unknown origin. (Wiktionary)



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  • Madam, though I am one of those
    That every Spring use to compose,
    That is, add feet unto round Prose :
    Yet you further art disclose,
    And can, as every body knows,
    Add to those feet fine dainty toes.
    Satyrs add nails, but they are shrews,
    My Muse therefore no further goes,
    But for her feet craves shooes and hose.

    - Edward Herbert, 'A merry Rime sent to the Lady Wroth upon the Birth of my L. of Pembroke's Child, born in the Spring'.

    July 27, 2009