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Slang term or idiom for an over-demanding, fierce wife?

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by SuperXW, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. SuperXW Senior Member

    I wonder if we can find such a slang term, metaphor or idiom in each language, to describe an over-demanding, fierce wife? :)

    Chinese (PRC Mandarin): 母老虎
    Literal meaning: tigress

    A Chinese idiom: 河东狮吼
    Literal meaning: Lion roaring at river's east
    Explanation: An famous ancient poet first said this. "A lion's roar" was originally a Buddhist metaphor. The poet used it to mock that the wife of his friend was shouting at him from their residence.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  2. learnerr Senior Member

    Russian people use Ancient mythology, both their own and Greek-Roman. An over-demanding wife might be a karga, a vedma ("карга", "ведьма", both words mean a witch), a megaera ("мегера") or a fury ("фурия"). These words fit especially well to old unbeautiful women of such character.
  3. apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    1/ «Μέγαιρα» ['meʝera] (fem.) --> in ancient Greek mythology the name of one of the «Ἐρῑνύες» Ĕrīnúĕs metaphorically, the termagant, shrewish woman < Classical v. «μεγαίρω» mĕgaírō --> to grudge, envy, refuse (PIE *meǵh₂-, great cf Skt. महि (mahi), great; Hitt. mekk-/mekki-, much, many).

    2/ «Στρίγκλα» ['striŋgla] (fem.) --> spiteful, shrewish woman, a re-loan: Classical Gr. 3rd declension fem. noun «στρίγξ» stríŋks & «στρίξ» stríks --> owl (with obscure etymology) > Lat. strīga (fem.) --> evil spirit, witch > Late Lat. strigula (fem.) > Byz. Gr. «στρίγκλα» (also found as «στρίγγλα» stríŋgla).

    3/ «Μαινάδα» [me'naða] (fem.) --> in ancient Greek mythology the name of the female followers of god Dionysus, «Μαινάς» Mainás, metaph. the shrewish, raving woman < Classical deponent v. «μαίνομαι» maínŏmai --> to rage, be furious (PIE *men-, to remember, think cf Skt. मन्यते (manyate), to think, imagine; OCS мьнѣти, to think > Rus. мнительный, BCS мнити/mniti, Slo. meniti; Lat. mēns, mind > It./Sp./Por. mente, Rom. minte).

    4/ «Κάργια» ['karʝa] (fem.) --> the bird European Jackdaw (Corvus monedula), metaph. the scolding, quarrelsome, obnoxious woman < Turkish karga.

    1 & 2 are used equally and interchangeably in the vernacular. 3 is considered bookish. 4 is colloquial and rustic, almost obsolete.
  4. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    A small addition to the Russian lexicon, also from mythology: harpy ("гарпия").
  5. bibax Senior Member


    furie, lítice (Lítice = Furia in Czech; lítý = fierce);
    megera (one of the Furies);
    xantippa (Sokrates' cantankerous wife);.

    metrnice, semetrika < (ce) maîtresse;

    čarodějnice (= vixen), sekernice (sekyra/sekera = axe);
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  6. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    To my Western ear it sounds much better than things like shrew, crow or harpy... :)
  7. bibax Senior Member

    According to the Cambridge on-line dictionary 'tigress' is a woman who is behaving very violently:

    Jean can be a real tigress if she feels criticized.

    In Czech we should rather say:

    She is a real tigress in bed. (it's commonly used in English as well)
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  8. SuperXW Senior Member

    Ironically, if the over-demanding, fierce wife or girlfriend is a pretty young girl, it will turn to be a thing makes people jealous. :p In 2001 a Korean movie called "My Sassy Girl" was popular in China, depicting such a girlfriend. The movie title is translated as "my barbaric girlfriend" in Chinese. Since then, the Chinese word "barbaric" has turned into a funny but positive way to describe a fierce but cute personality...
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  9. SuperXW Senior Member

    Does this mean shrew, crow or harpy are all used on describing such kind of women in English?
    Can we use "tigress" in English as well? Since bibax has quoted the Cambridge dictionary. So we can say it, just the tone would be softer?
  10. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    In English I only know shrew. Crow (a jackdaw is a crow-like bird) is form Greek above and harpy from Russian.
    I would imagine tigress would be rather flattering in most European languages.
  11. learnerr Senior Member

    In Russian, "хищница" ("predatoress") is used to mean a selfish woman: she does not care for anything but mundane success, not thinking twice before harming other people or even ruining others' lives, if she is up to. Russians also might use more specific words instead of this general one, like "волчица" ("wolfess"), "львица" ("lioness"), or "тигрица" ("tigress"). They all have different connotations; the first makes think of solitary hunt skills, the second is about being calm, luxurous and splendid (the only word of these three that may be often perceived as complimenting), the third would be associated with fierceness.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  12. origumi Senior Member

    In Hebrew there was "klafte", but this word lost its popularity in the last few decades. Borrowed from Yiddish. Yiddish borrowed it maybe from "klabta" = she-dog in Judeo-Aramaic, or from Greek Xanthippe, Socrates' wife.
  13. arielipi Senior Member

    That is not klafte, a klafte is a bitter (merira) wife, it translates into bitch.
  14. ancalimon Senior Member

    Cadı (witch) is used in Turkish. But she needn't be your wife. She can simply be your girlfriend or just friend.

    Interesting. Karga means crow in Turkish and crows are identified with witches.
  15. learnerr Senior Member

    Probably an old loan... There were a multitude of loans from Turkic languages a few hundred years ago.
    The word "karga" in Russian has no connection with crows. As for the crows themselves, a crow ("ворон") can be a wizard, but never a witch.
  16. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    I'm not sure I agree. For me, a crow (воронa) is rather associated with someone who is a scatterbrain/forgetful/innatentive. A raven (ворон) is the one who is wise, wizardly and a bit sinister.
  17. learnerr Senior Member

    Ah, sorry. My mistake with my English. I thought they're the same word in it. :(
  18. apmoy70 Senior Member

    Likewise, in Greek, she is a «γυναίκα-αρπακτικό» [ʝi'neka arpakti'ko] --> woman-predatoress

    In Greek «κάργια» ['karʝa] (fem.) is not crow but a bird in the Corvidae family, that makes a lot of noise, and it's an omnivorous and opportunistic feeder, the Jackdaw. Its formal name («κάργια» is a Turkish loan), is «κολοιός» [koli'os] (masc.) < Classical masc. noun «κολοιός» kŏloiós --> Jackdaw (with obscure etymology). The ugly old witch is a «καρακάξα» [kara'kaksa] (fem.) --> the bird Magpie (with uncertain etymology, «καρακάξα» [kara'kaksa] is either i) onomatopoeic, or, ii) a medieval corruption of the Classical Gr. fem. noun «κορακόκισσᾱ» kŏrăkókīssā --> Jay, Magpie).
  19. origumi Senior Member

    Oh please, there's a whole world beyond Wikipedia. See for example here and here and here.
  20. arielipi Senior Member

    אז בואי מדברים נכונה, טוב?
  21. bibax Senior Member

    In Czech kavka (= jackdaw, pronounced kafka) is a dupe, a gullible person.
    We say 'oškubat kavku' = lit. to pluck a jackdaw (= to take someone to the cleaners).
  22. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Dutch: maybe a helleveeg, literally a hell sweeper, or a feeks, something like a mighty witch, which might combine the magic of a fee (fairy-tale) and a heks (witch), but the latter etymythical explanation...
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
  23. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    We say: 'She's a lioness (leoaică)' but this is associated to a strong motherhood feeling.
  24. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Tagalog: Labis na mapaghanap
  25. Määränpää

    Määränpää Senior Member

    I like the sound of the Finnish word: pirttihirmu ("terror of the house")
  26. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    But what does this mean? For sure it is some kind of a metaphor...
  27. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Tagalog: Mapaghanap (always asking for something)

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