Xanthippe

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Reyer van Blommendael, Xantippe Dousing Socrates (c. 1655).[n 1] It depicts an angry Xanthippe dumping the contents of a chamber pot over Socrates, who is supposed to have responded, “After thunder comes the rain.” Her name is now used to refer to an ill-tempered woman.

Borrowed from Latin Xanthippē or its etymon Ancient Greek Ξανθίππη (Xanthíppē), the name of Socrateswife,[1] from ξανθός (xanthós, blond; golden, yellow) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ḱas- (blond; grey; white)) + ἵππος (híppos, horse) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₁eḱ- (horse; swift (?))). She is described as shrewish in Xenophon’s Symposium, though the same work states that Socrates chose her precisely because of her argumentative spirit. In Xenophon’s Memorabilia and Phaedo by Plato she is depicted as a devoted wife and mother.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

Xanthippe (plural Xanthippes)

  1. (literary, derogatory, dated) An ill-tempered woman.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:shrew
    • [c. 1590–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii], page 213, column 1:
      Be ſhe as foule as was Florentius Loue, / As old as Sibell, and as curſt and ſhrow'd / As Socrates Zentippe, or a worſe: / She moues me not, or not remoues at leaſt / Affections edge in me.]
    • 1691, [Anthony Wood], “RICHARD HOOKER”, in Athenæ Oxonienses. An Exact History of All the Writers and Bishops who have had Their Education in the Most Ancient and Famous University of Oxford from the Fifteenth Year of King Henry the Seventh, Dom. 1500, to the End of the Year 1690. [], volume I (Extending to the 16th Year of King Charles I. Dom. 1640), London: [] Tho[mas] Bennet [], OCLC 940079791, column 262:
      RICHARD HOOKER, that rare and admirable Theologiſt, [...] married a clowniſh ſilly Woman and withal a meer Xantippe, [...]
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, “In which the Man of the Hill Begins to Relate His History”, in The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volume III, London: A[ndrew] Millar [], OCLC 928184292, book VIII, pages 235–236:
      [page 235] He was prudent and induſtrious, and ſo good a Huſbandman, that he might have led a very eaſy and comfortable Life, had not an errant Vixen of a Wife ſoured his domeſtic Quiet. [...] [page 236] By this Xantippe (ſo was the Wife of Socrates called, ſaid Partridge) By this Xantippe he had two Sons, of which I was the younger.
    • 1850 September, W. C. Goldthwait, “Power of Expression”, in W. W. Mitchell, editor, The Massachusetts Teacher, volume III, number 9, Boston, Mass.: Samuel Coolidge, [], ISSN 2642-6536, OCLC 7516213, page 286:
      Who has not seen the cross looks and peevish temper of the teacher and parent copied, as by a mirror (though we should say without reflection), in the face and disposition of the child? [...] From an unbroken course of such treatment, who would expect any thing but an unbroken line of Nabals and Xanthippes?
    • 1858, Anthony Trollope, “Louis Scatcherd”, in Doctor Thorne. [], volume II, London: Chapman & Hall, [], OCLC 458393990, pages 185–186:
      What have we seen in our own personal walks through life to make us believe that women are devils? There may possibly have been a Xantippe here and there, but Imogenes are to be found under every bush.
    • 1870 July, “Socrates. Part I.”, in Dublin University Magazine, a Literary and Political Journal, volume LXXVI, number CCCCLI, Dublin: George Herbert, []; London: Hurst & Blackett, OCLC 828212439, page 114, column 1:
      The use he [Socrates] made of his domestic trial may be profitably remembered by any that have a Xanthippe to deal with.
    • 1884 January–February, Arthur H[enderson] Smith, “The Proverbs and Common Sayings of the Chinese. [...] Puns and Other Linguistic Diversion.—Parodies.”, in The Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal, volume XV, number 1, Shanghai: American Presbyterian Mission Press, OCLC 6781272, footnote *, page 14:
      The 'kneeling punishment' (罰跪) would seem to be a well recognized mode of enforcing their authority, in use by Chinese Xanthippes, for the proverb says: 'The Henpecked man is obliged to kneel with a lamp on his head [to make it certain that he does not stir] until the morning watch.'

Alternative forms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Xantippe, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1921.

Further reading[edit]


German[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

Xanthippe f (genitive Xanthippe, plural Xanthippen)

  1. Xanthippe

Further reading[edit]


Latin[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Ancient Greek Ξανθίππη (Xanthíppē).

Pronunciation[edit]

Proper noun[edit]

Xanthippē f sg (genitive Xanthippēs); first declension

  1. A name, notably that of the philosopher Socrates' wife.

Declension[edit]

First-declension noun (Greek-type), singular only.

Case Singular
Nominative Xanthippē
Genitive Xanthippēs
Dative Xanthippae
Accusative Xanthippēn
Ablative Xanthippē
Vocative Xanthippē

Descendants[edit]

  • Italian: Santippe

References[edit]