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In the Reverse of the Medal, Captain Aubrey incorrectly defines ptarmigans as: "those contentious froward, cross, overbearing women." What word was he actually trying to define?




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Answer: termagants

The word termagant denotes a quarrelsome, scolding woman. It derives from the name of a fictitious Muslim god portrayed as a turbulent and overbearing character in medieval plays. The character became associated with women because of its long Middle-Eastern robes.

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