Definition of vixen in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvɪks(ə)n/


1A female fox.
Example sentences
  • Gibbons says the females, or vixens, have a disturbing habit of making bloodcurdling screams in winter.
  • As the vixen's oestrus draws to a close, the dog fox stops guarding her and changes his behaviour dramatically, rapidly expanding into the neighbouring territories.
  • Now the vixen snapped at the dog's heels, so he turned on her and found himself harried again by her brother.
1.1 informal A spirited or quarrelsome woman: an outrageous little shaven-headed vixen
More example sentences
  • He uses examples from a biblical hall of fame of female villains and vixens - Delilah is one - to warn women not to engage in various forms of deceit or trickery to land, or keep, a man.
virago, harridan, shrew, dragon, termagant, cat, witch, hellcat, she-devil, tartar, martinet, spitfire, hag, gorgon, fury, ogress, harpy, nag
informal bitch
Scottish & Northern Irish informal targe
archaic scold
rare Xanthippe



Pronunciation: /ˈvɪks(ə)nɪʃ/
Example sentences
  • It's not strong enough to be strident nor tender enough to be vixenish.




Late Middle English fixen, perhaps from the Old English adjective fyxen 'of a fox'. The v- is from the form of the word in southern English dialect.

  • fox from Old English:

    An Old English word that is related to German Fuchs. As well as featuring in folklore ( see grapes) it is also a traditional quarry of hunters. Oscar Wilde described ‘The English country gentleman galloping after a fox—the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable’. Today the fox is as much an urban animal as a rural one, and its meaning has also shifted significantly. The US sense ‘an attractive woman’ is first recorded in the early 1960s, but the related adjective foxy was used before the First World War. This is an unusual development, in that fox is strictly masculine, the female being a vixen (Late Middle English). The two words are not as far apart as they might at first seem. Vixen was originally fixen, but in the past, as today, in the West Country an ‘f’ was often pronounced as a ‘v’, given vox and vixen and for some reason the West Country form stuck for the female. In the late 16th century vixen came to be a term for a bad-tempered woman (otherwise a shrew) so was not available for the new, sexual, sense. Foxed to describe a book with brownish spots on it dates from the mid 19th century and comes from the colour of the spots matching the reddish-brown of the animal.

Words that rhyme with vixen

Blixen, Nixon

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: vixen

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