Word of the Day: Virago

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(n.); manlike or heroic woman; a woman of extraordinary stature, strength and courage; a domineering, violent or bad-tempered woman

“I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.”

–Alan Moore

This week’s word is a mixed bag of meaning: is this virago a female warrior of extraordinary power, or is she just in a particularly bad mood? Is she Catwoman, or is she Katherine from The Taming of the Shrew? According to the Latin Vulgate version of Genesis, virago is the original name given to Eve by Adam, taken from the Latin vir, meaning “man.” It isn’t until about the 14th century that the word became associated with a female warrior of supernatural strength—the original Wonder Woman, as it were. And speaking of Wonder Woman, comics mastermind Alan Moore has some surprising comments about superhero culture in the modern age in an interview with the Guardian this week, claiming that “today’s adult interest in superheroes” is “culturally catastrophic.”


Sara Menuck is currently pursuing BA in English & Professional Writing at York University, Toronto, without being very professional at all. Having interned with a variety of small press publications, she currently works as a prose reader for The Winter Tangerine Review, a department editorial assistant, and, in her free time, a teacher of music to very small, adorable children. More from this author →