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Sep 4, 2009
This week's theme
Animal terms

This week's words
bird-dog
wildcatter
frogmarch
mawkish
shrew

Pygmy Shrew
pygmy shrew
Photo: Paul Adams

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

shrew

PRONUNCIATION:
(shroo)

MEANING:
noun: A bad-tempered, nagging woman.

ETYMOLOGY:
Shrew is a mammal of the family Soricidae, having a long, sharp snout. Several species of shrew have a venomous bite. In the beginning the term was used metaphorically for anyone of a spiteful nature, male or female. Eventually the word came to be applied exclusively to women.

USAGE:
"Bibisab's acid tongue and larger than life valour are part of her defence mechanism. She has to be bold and loud to compete with men in her male-dominated society. She may appear to be a shrew but she is not dishonest."
Jamil Mahmud; Bibisab: A Woman Going Beyond Gender Roles; The Daily Star (Dhaka, Bangladesh); Jul 15, 2009.

See more usage examples of shrew in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt. -Clarence Darrow, lawyer and author (1857-1938)

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