I thought virago was a grumpy woman, like it is in all definitions, and it is something bad. But I read this:

And then I realized that there’s a second meaning:

a woman of great stature, strength, and courage
Archaic. a woman of strength or spirit.

Which is good!

So can I still use the word virago to describe a woman of our age who is courageous and not grumpy and bad-tempered? Or it would be too archaic?

Most people would think you meant an aggressive, domineering woman.

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

I suspect that if you called an American woman that name, she would probably not know its meaning, but if she went to a dictionary and discovered its meaning, you would soon be in BIG trouble!

Three very good dictionaries tell me that the definition of “a woman of courage” is definitely ARCHAIC. (Just as an archaic meaning of the word “nice” is – “stupid.”)


P.S. Don’t tell anyone, but I have just discovered two other words for a bad-tempered woman:



Of course, I would not dare use those words in speech or writing.