AskDefine | Define virago

Dictionary Definition

virago

Noun

1 a noisy or scolding or domineering woman
2 a large strong and aggressive woman [syn: amazon] [also: viragoes (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

  • From virago ‘warlike or heroic woman’.

Pronunciation

  • /vɪ'rɑ:gəʊ/

Adjective

virago
  1. pertaining to a virago
    • 1964: Joan was all Arden, grinning there, siding with her virago mother. — Anthony Burgess, Nothing Like the Sun

Derived terms

Italian

Noun

virago (invariable or litterary plural: viragini)

Latin

Etymology

From vir, man.

Noun

  1. a warlike woman

Inflection

Extensive Definition

Virago is a term that refers to a strong, brave, or warlike woman (from Latin vir "a man", compare Tomboy). The term has also been used to refer to a noisy, bossy, and scolding woman. It is closely related to termagant, which is a quarrelsome, scolding woman and shrew, which is a nagging woman.
The two meanings have led to the word's use as names for:
  • Virago Press, a British press publishing women's literature.
  • Yamaha Virago is a series of Japanese manufactured motorcycles.
  • Virago is also the name of a spaceship in the Expanded Universe of Star Wars, though not in the films. This usage may have stemmed from the use of the word as a name for many modern racing yachts.
  • A superhero in a Green Arrow story arc called "Sounds of Violence", killed by the villain Onomatopoeia.

Latin Bible

Virago is the Latin Bible's word for "woman". It was the name given by Adam to the first woman when she was created out of his rib. (The name was later changed to "Eve.") The Latin Bible says:
Dixitque Adam hoc nunc os ex ossibus meis et caro de carne mea haec vocabitur virago quoniam de viro sumpta est. ("And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.")
The Middle English poem Cursor Mundi retains the Latin name for the woman in its otherwise Middle English account of the creation:
Quen sco was broght be-for adam, Virago he gaf her to nam; þar for hight sco virago, ffor maked of the man was sco. (lines 631-34)
("When she was brought before Adam, Virago was the name he gave to her; Therefore she is called Virago, For she was made out of the man.")
Used in the title of the novel,"The Chronicles of the Virago"http://www.thevirago.com ISBN-10: 1424133653 Author-Michael Bialys

Bibliography

  • Ernst Breisach, Caterina Sforza ; A Renaissance virago, Chicago [usw.]: University Press 1967
  • Elizabeth D. Carney,"Olympias and the Image of the Virago" in: Phoenix, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Spring, 1993), pp. 29-55
  • Morris, Richard. Cursor Mundi: A Northunbrian Poem of the XIV Century. London: Oxford UP, 1874. Republished 1961.
  • Yenna Wu, The Chinese virago : a literary theme, Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.] : Harvard Univ. Press, 1995
virago in German: Virago
virago in Italian: Virago
virago in Portuguese: Virago
virago in French: Virago

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Jezebel, Mafioso, Xanthippe, Young Turk, amazon, androgyne, battle-ax, beast, beldam, berserk, berserker, bitch, bitch-kitty, bomber, brute, butch, cat, common scold, demon, devil, dragon, dyke, fiend, fire-eater, firebrand, fishwife, fury, goon, gorilla, grimalkin, gunsel, hag, hardnose, harpy, hell-raiser, hellcat, hellhag, hellhound, hellion, holy terror, hood, hoodlum, hothead, hotspur, hoyden, incendiary, killer, lesbian, mad dog, madcap, monster, mugger, ogress, rapist, revolutionary, romp, savage, scold, she-devil, she-wolf, shrew, siren, spitfire, termagant, terror, terrorist, tiger, tigress, tomboy, tough, tough guy, ugly customer, violent, vixen, wild beast, wildcat, witch, wolf
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