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slang A derogatory term for a woman who is or is seen to be ruthlessly powerful, domineering, or manipulative. Named for the villainess in the comic strip Terry and the Pirates (1934–46), who was known for such traits. Sometimes capitalized. Outside of work, we call her the Dragon Lady for the way she bullies anyone and everyone who is lower than her on the corporate ladder. My uncle is married to a real dragon lady—all she does is yell at him and boss him around.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A domineering or belligerent woman, as in They called her the neighborhood dragon lady-she was always yelling at the children. This slangy term was originally the name of a villainous Asian woman in Milton Caniff's popular cartoon strip Terry and the Pirates (1934-1973), which ran in many newspapers. It was transferred to more general use in the mid-1900s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
A fierce and formidable woman. The term comes from a popular comic strip of the 1930s, “Terry and the Pirates,” which featured such a woman. In the mid-eighteenth century the word dragon alone was used to describe a fierce and violent person of either sex, although by the mid-1800s it was so used only for a woman. Possibly this was the original source for the comic-strip dragon lady.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer