A woman regarded as critical and scolding.
[Possibly from alteration of French haridelle, old horse, gaunt woman, from Middle French, old broken-down horse : Old French har- as in haraz, stud farm (perhaps from Old Norse hārr, gray-haired, hoary; see RACE1) + -idelle, feminine n. suffix (of unknown origin).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.