Harpy Har"py (h[aum]r"p[y^]), n.; pl. {Harpies} (-p[i^]z). [F. harpie, L. harpyia, Gr. "a`rpyia, from the root of "arpa`zein to snatch, to seize. Cf. {Rapacious}.] 1. (Gr. Myth.) A fabulous winged monster, ravenous and filthy, having the face of a woman and the body of a vulture, with long claws, and the face pale with hunger. Some writers mention two, others three. [1913 Webster]

Both table and provisions vanished quite. With sound of harpies' wings and talons heard. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

2. One who is rapacious or ravenous; an extortioner. [1913 Webster]

The harpies about all pocket the pool. --Goldsmith. [1913 Webster]

3. (Zo["o]l.) (a) The European moor buzzard or marsh harrier ({Circus [ae]ruginosus}). (b) A large and powerful, double-crested, short-winged American eagle ({Thrasa["e]tus harpyia}). It ranges from Texas to Brazil. [1913 Webster]

{Harpy bat} (Zo["o]l.) (a) An East Indian fruit bat of the genus {Harpyia} (esp. {Harpyia cephalotes}), having prominent, tubular nostrils. (b) A small, insectivorous Indian bat ({Harpiocephalus harpia}).

{Harpy fly} (Zo["o]l.), the house fly. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • harpy — [här′pē] n. pl. harpies [MFr harpie < L harpyia < Gr harpyiai, pl., lit., snatchers < harpazein, to snatch < IE * serp < base * ser , sickle, curved hook > L sarpere, to prune] 1. [H ] Gr. Myth. any of several hideous, filthy,… …   English World dictionary

  • harpy — late 14c., from O.Fr. harpie (14c.), from Gk. Harpyia (pl.), lit. snatchers, probably related to harpazein to snatch (see RAPID (Cf. rapid)). Metaphoric extension to greedy person is c.1400. In Homer they are merely personified storm winds, who… …   Etymology dictionary

  • harpy — ► NOUN (pl. harpies) 1) Greek & Roman Mythology a rapacious monster usually depicted with a woman s head and body and a bird s wings and claws. 2) a grasping, unscrupulous woman. ORIGIN Greek harpuiai snatchers …   English terms dictionary

  • Harpy — For other uses, see Harpy (disambiguation). Harpy Mythology Greek Grouping Legendary creature Sub grouping Hybrid …   Wikipedia

  • Harpy — harpylike, adj. /hahr pee/, n., pl. Harpies. 1. Class. Myth. a ravenous, filthy monster having a woman s head and a bird s body. 2. (l.c.) a scolding, nagging, bad tempered woman; shrew. 3. (l.c.) a greedy, predatory person. [ < L Harpyia, sing.… …   Universalium

  • harpy — har|py [ˈha:pi US ˈha:rpi] n plural harpies [Date: 1800 1900; Origin: Harpy name of a creature in ancient Greek stories with the head of a woman and the body of a bird (16 21 centuries), from Greek harpyia seizer ] 1.) literary a cruel woman 2.)… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • harpy — UK [ˈhɑː(r)pɪ] / US [ˈhɑrpɪ] noun [countable] Word forms harpy : singular harpy plural harpies 1) offensive an insulting name for a woman who you think is unpleasant 2) a cruel creature in ancient Greek stories, with a bird s body and a woman s… …   English dictionary

  • harpy — Synonyms and related words: Argus, Briareus, Cerberus, Charybdis, Cyclops, Echidna, Gorgon, Harpy, Hydra, Loch Ness monster, Medusa, Minotaur, Pegasus, Python, Scylla, Sphinx, Talos, Typhon, Xanthippe, amazon, blackmailer, bloodsucker, centaur,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • harpy — [[t]hɑ͟ː(r)pi[/t]] harpies 1) N COUNT: usu pl, oft the N In classical mythology, the harpies were creatures with the bodies of birds and the faces of women. They flew quickly and were cruel and greedy. 2) N COUNT (disapproval) If you refer to a… …   English dictionary

  • Harpy — /ˈhapi/ (say hahpee) noun (plural Harpies) Greek Legend a rapacious and filthy monster having a woman s head and a bird s body. {Latin harpȳia, from Greek: literally, snatcher} …   Australian English dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”