Etymology
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shrew (n.)
small insectivorous mammal, Old English screawa "shrew-mouse," unknown outside English, and "the absence of evidence for the word between the OE. period and the 16th c is remarkable" [OED]. Perhaps from Proto-Germanic *skraw-, from PIE *skreu- "to cut; cutting tool" (see shred (n.)), in reference to the shrew's pointed snout. Alternative Old English word for it was scirfemus, from sceorfan "to gnaw."

The meaning "peevish, malignant, clamorous, spiteful, vexatious, turbulent woman" [Johnson] is late 14c., from earlier sense of "spiteful person" (male or female), mid-13c., traditionally said to derive from some supposed malignant influence of the animal, which was once believed to have a venomous bite and was held in superstitious dread (compare beshrew). Paired with sheep from 1560s as the contrasting types of wives.
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shrewish (adj.)
late 14c., "wicked, malignant," from shrew + -ish. Of women, "malignant and scolding," from 1560s. Related: Shrewishly; shrewishness.
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beshrew (v.)
early 14c., "deprave, pervert, corrupt," from be- + shrew (v.) "to curse;" see shrew. The milder meaning "to invoke evil upon" is from late 14c. Related: Beshrewed; beshrewing.
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shrewd (adj.)
c. 1300, "wicked, evil," from shrewe "wicked man" (see shrew). Compare crabbed from crab (n.), dogged from dog (n.), wicked from witch (n.). The sense of "cunning" is first recorded 1510s. Related: Shrewdly; shrewdness. Strutt's "Sports and Pastimes of the People of England" (1801) has a shrewdness of apes for a company or group of them. Shrewdie "cunning person" is from 1916.
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ramp (n.2)

"coarse, frolicsome girl or woman," mid-15c., rampe, "a virago, shrew," perhaps from early senses of ramp (v.) via the notion of "rear up on the hind legs to attack," hence, of persons, "to attack like a rampant animal." Also compare ramp (n.1). Johnson's Dictionary (1755) has romp: "a rude, awkward, boisterous, untaught girl."

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abusive (adj.)
Origin and meaning of abusive

1530s (implied in abusively) "improper," from French abusif, from Latin abusivus "misapplied, improper," from abus-, past-participle stem of abuti "misuse," literally "use up" (see abuse (v.)). Meaning "full of abuse" is from 1580s. Shakespeare has abusious ("Taming of the Shrew," 1594). Abuseful "abounding in reproaches" was in use 17c.-19c. Related: Abusively; abusiveness.

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domineer (v.)

1580s, "to rule in a despotic or arrogant manner," from Dutch domineren "to rule, play the master; to feast" (16c.), from French dominer, from Latin dominari "to rule, 'lord' it over," from dominus "lord, master," literally "master of the house," from domus "house, home" (from PIE root *dem- "house, household") + -nus, suffix denoting ownership or relation.

 Shakespeare's usage ("Taming of the Shrew") is not the earliest in English. Meaning "give orders or directions in an arrogant, blustering manner" is from 1764. Related: Domineering; domineeringly. "Domineering suggests unfitness or lack of authority to rule, with an insulting, hectoring, or bullying manner." [Century Dictionary]

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ermine (n.)

"a stoat," especially in its white winter coat, late 12c., from Old French ermine (12c., Modern French hermine), used in reference to both the animal and the fur. Apparently the word is a convergence of Latin (mus) Armenius "Armenian (mouse)" -- ermines being abundant in Asia Minor -- and an unrelated Germanic word for "weasel" (represented by Old High German harmo "ermine, stoat, weasel," adj. harmin; Old Saxon harmo, Old English hearma "shrew," etc.) that happened to sound like it. OED splits the difference between competing theories. The fur, especially with the black of the tail inserted at regular intervals in the pure white of the winter coat, was used for the lining of official and ceremonial garments, in England especially judicial robes, hence figurative use from 18c. for "the judiciary." Related: Ermined.

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Shrewsbury 
one of the most etymologically complex of English place names, it illustrates the changes wrought in Old English words by Anglo-French scribes who could not pronounce them. Recorded 1016 as Scrobbesbyrig, it originally may have meant "the fortified place in (a district called) The Scrub." The initial consonant cluster was impossible for the scribes, who simplified it to sr-, then added a vowel (sar-) to make it easier still.

The name was also changed by Anglo-French loss or metathesis of liquids in words containing -l-, -n-, or -r- (also evident in the derivatives of Old French Berengier "bear-spear" -- Old High German Beringar -- name of one of the paladins in the Charlemagne romances and a common given name in England 12c. and 13c., which has come down in surnames as Berringer, Bellanger, Benger, etc.). Thus Sarop- became Salop- and in the 12c. and 13c. the overwhelming spelling in government records was Salopesberie, which accounts for the abbreviation Salop for the modern county.

During all this, the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants (as opposed to the French scribes) still pronounced it properly, and regular sound evolutions probably produced a pronunciation something like Shrobesbury (which turns up on a 1327 patent roll). After a predictable -b- to -v- (a vowel in the Middle Ages) to -u- shift, the modern spelling begins to emerge 14c. and is fully established 15c.

Shrewsbury clock, for some reason, became proverbial for exactness, and thus, naturally, proverbial as indicating exaggeration of accuracy (1590s).
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