Share this entry

Share this page

shrew

Line breaks: shrew
Pronunciation: /ʃruː
 
/

Definition of shrew in English:

noun

1A small mouse-like insectivorous mammal with a long pointed snout and tiny eyes.
  • Family Soricidae: many genera, in particular Sorex and Crocidura, and numerous species
Example sentences
  • Several small mammals live in the park - genets, shrews, hedgehogs and mongooses.
  • With the zoo's high densities of rodents (deer mice, white-footed mice, house mice, shrews, moles, and Norway rats), a relatively high density of rodent predators could be achieved.
  • Foxes, rabbits, harvest mice, house mice, dormice, shrews, weasels, and voles all depend on the hedgerows as a place to breed, hunt or shelter.
2A bad-tempered or aggressively assertive woman: the girls became shrews and harridans
More example sentences
  • Socrates was married, you know, and his wife, Xanthippe, was a shrew.
  • Now, with this Ann doll, you can start training those young girls at an early age to become bigoted shrews!
  • He was perhaps more in love with the study of philosophy than with his family - that his wife Xanthippe was shrew is a later tale.
Synonyms
informal battleaxe, old bag, old bat, bitch
archaic scold
rare Xanthippe

Origin

Old English scrēawa, scrǣwa, of Germanic origin; related words in Germanic languages have senses such as 'dwarf', 'devil', or 'fox'.

Definition of shrew in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day jaunt
Pronunciation: dʒɔːnt
noun
a short excursion or journey made for pleasure