Alteration of fixen (“female fox”), from Middle English fixen, from Old English fixen, *fyxen, fyxe (“female fox”), from Proto-Germanic *fuhsinjō (“female fox”). Voiced v- is from the Southern dialectal forms of Middle English. Compare German Füchsin (“female fox”). See also fox.
vixen (plural vixens)
- A female fox.
- A malicious, quarrelsome or temperamental woman.
1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, London: A[ndrew] Millar, OCLC 928184292:
- He was prudent and industrious, and so good a husbandman, that he might have led a very easy and comfortable life, had not an arrant vixen of a wife soured his domestic quiet.
- 1859:, George Eliot. Adam Bede: page 54. Köln: Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 1999:
- . . . and if Solomon was as wise as he is reputed to be, I feel sure that when he compared a contentious woman to a continual dripping on a very rainy day, he had not a vixen in his eye–a fury with long nails, acrid and selfish.
- (colloquial) A racy or salacious woman.
- (female fox): female fox
- (malicious, quarrelsome or temperamental woman): bitch, virago, she-devil, hellcat
- (racy or salacious woman): fox, sex kitten, nymphomaniac, vamp
- (female fox): fox