origin: [1700's] Possibly French; haridelle= old horse, nag.
An older woman who rules the roost with an iron fist; an overly critical matron; the word is often seen as a (sexist) pejorative: battle ax, harpy, hag, old biddy, fish wife, witch, crone, ball-breaker. But to me harridan sounds like a rug or some kind of fancy car, "Perhaps a harridan, the one with the silver trim would be best?"
Anyway, despite the implied insult of harridan, such fictional individuals often make for excellent television: Mama's Family, Rosanne, Maude & Golden Girls, Damages, and The Devil Wear's Prada are some examples.
Much like their male counterparts: The Honeymooners, Archie Bunker, House, or Sons of Anarchy. One of life's many contradictions being -- what people claim to hate in real life, they often gobble up in the form of entertainment.
Ma Beagle of the Beagle Boys from Duck Tales was a harrison.