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harpy

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Pronunciation: /ˈhɑːpi
 
/

Definition of harpy in English:

noun (plural harpies)

1 Greek & Roman Mythology A rapacious monster described as having a woman’s head and body and a bird’s wings and claws or depicted as a bird of prey with a woman’s face.
Example sentences
  • The harpy woman shook her wings and let out a blood curdling cry from the depths of her throat, raising goose bumps on my arms.
  • Hybrid creatures, such as sphinxes, harpies, sirens, griffons and centaurs, carved on Roman sarcophagi, candelabras, altars and temple friezes, were a direct source of artistic inspiration.
  • The harpy, whose name was derived from the Greek word arpazo, ‘to seize’, was a monstrous female demon of insatiable hunger, known as temptress, seductress and tormenter of victims.
2A grasping, unpleasant woman: clearly, he had us down as a couple of gold-digging harpies
More example sentences
  • Surely this wasn't the cold-hearted harpy that had spurned my affections.
  • From what we see, Clare has an intuitive sympathy with children, while Mrs Trevel, far from being a bearer of hidden wisdom, is actually a vengeful harpy.
  • I feel like a heartless harpy for having these feelings, but ultimately, I feel stifled by him, nay even negated.

Origin

late Middle English: from Latin harpyia, from Greek harpuiai 'snatchers'.

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