SHroo /noun: shrew; plural noun: shrews

  1. a small mole-like insectivorous mammal with a long pointed snout and tiny eyes.
  2. a bad-tempered or aggressively assertive woman

Of Germanic origin; related words in Germanic languages have senses such as ‘dwarf,’ ‘devil,’ or ‘fox.’

…it biteth deep and poysoneth deadly…” (E. Topsell, 17th century)


A shrew is a small, aggressive mole-like mammal that has a mouthful of sharp, spike-like teeth. Unlike most mammals, shrews are venomous. When they bite, the poisonous neurotoxins in their saliva paralyze small prey. Once immobolized and comatose, the shrew will cache the prey undergound. While not normally fatal to larger organisms, the venom from a shrew bite can cause numbness, swelling, pain, and irritation that can last for several days.

In Shakespeare’s day, shrews were generally regarded with fear and considered to exert “malignant influences.” The use of the word “shrew” for a catty or ill-natured person (especially a woman) and the words “shrewd” and “shrewish” are derived from the animal’s name and are based on the creature’s unpleasant characteristics.

Six Habits of Shrews

“Three things drive a man outdoors: smoke, dripping water and a shrew.” (Old Proverb)

A woman is a shrew when the venom in her words paralyzes or immobolizes her man, or when her attitude and/or words cause him pain and irritation. The trouble is, shrew-like behavior can become a habit. And left unchecked, it can slowly errode and poison a relationship. Sadly, many women are unaware or unconcerned about the toxins that continually drip from their lips.

Are you a shrew? Take the quiz below to find out:

1.  Disrespecting

One of a man’s biggest needs is to feel respected. Are you cutting and sarcastic? Do you mock or belittle him? Do you publicly shame or embarass him? Do you make him look bad in front of others?

[ ] never     [ ] seldom       [ ] occasionally     [ ] often     [ ] habitually

2.  Criticizing

Do you criticize his efforts? Do you nit-pick? Do you make him feel like nothing he does is ever good enough for you?  Do you bash and blame? Do you disparage him and find fault ?

[ ] never     [ ] seldom       [ ] occasionally     [ ] often     [ ] habitually

3.  Nagging

Do you badger and harangue him until he agrees to do what you want? Do you nag him to get your way? Do you annoy him with your persistent complaints or demands?

[ ] never     [ ] seldom       [ ] occasionally     [ ] often     [ ] habitually

4.  Lecturing

Do you lecture him about what he should do?  Do you reprimand, reprove, chide, or scold him? Do you stand on your soapbox and allocute about what he needs to improve? Do you treat him like a child? Do you give him tongue-lashings?

[ ] never     [ ] seldom       [ ] occasionally     [ ] often     [ ] habitually

5.  Opposing

Are you contrary? Do you resist, defy & oppose him? Do you constantly pull in the opposite direction?  Are you disagreeable?  Do you always come up with a better idea?  Are you unleadable?

[ ] never     [ ] seldom       [ ] occasionally     [ ] often     [ ] habitually

6.  Punishing

Are you punitive? Do you put him in the doghouse? Do you pay back or censure him? Do you draw back and withhold affection or actively seek to punish him?

[ ] never     [ ] seldom       [ ] occasionally     [ ] often     [ ] habitually


Add up your score.  Give yourself 1 point for each “seldom” answer, 2 points for each “occasionally,” 3 points for each “often” and 4 points for each “habitually.” Each “never” counts for 0 points.

How do you rate?

  • Under 5 points:  No venom here. You’re not a shrew.
  • 5 to 9 points:  You’re not in the habit of biting, but sometimes you flash your sharp teeth.
  • 10 to 14 points:  There’s poison in your tongue. Your man feels the bite.
  • 15 to 20 points:  Your bites are toxic and constantly cause numbness, pain, and irritation.
  • Over 20 points:  Yikes! Your man is probably immobolized, comatose and cached underground.

Proverbs 19:13 says that the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping. You want to be the kind of woman who builds her house, and not the kind who with her own hands tears it down (Proverbs  14:1). So watch your words. Turn to the Lord for help. Avoid the six habits that will turn you into a shrew.


You'll want to avoid these 6 habits of a Shrew