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[nans] /næns/
noun, Slang.
Offensive. an effeminate male.
Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a male homosexual.
Origin of nance
First recorded in 1905-10; shortened from given name Nancy Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • nance turned away, and put up her chin to watch a wreath of smoke.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • "He has fascinated you as he has fascinated Mother and nance," Dan replied.

    The Inn at the Red Oak Latta Griswold
  • You may think it odd, Tom, that I should seem to distrust nance.

    The Inn at the Red Oak Latta Griswold
  • I heard him whisper as he left nance, 'More success next time!'

    The Inn at the Red Oak Latta Griswold
  • "You have been uncommonly silent, nance, even for you," he said at last.

    The Inn at the Red Oak Latta Griswold
  • nance, I have been trying all evening to get a word with you, and you have not so much as given me a glance.

    The Inn at the Red Oak Latta Griswold
Word Origin and History for nance

"effeminate man, homosexual," 1904, from female name Nancy (q.v.), which was in use as an adjective meaning "effeminate" (applied to men) from 1883, a shortening of earlier Miss Nancy.

Nancy, Miss, an opprobrious epithet for an exceedingly effeminate, over-nice young man. The original Miss Nancy, however, was a Mrs. Anna Old field, a celebrated actress, who died in 1730 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. She was extremely vain and nice about her dress, and as she lay in state, attended by two noblemen, she was attired, as she had directed shortly before her death, in "a very fine Brussels lace head-dress, a Holland shift with a tucker and double ruffles of the same lace, a pair of new kid gloves," etc., a circumstance alluded to by Pope .... [William S. Walsh, "Handy-Book of Literary Curiosities," 1892]
Nancy boy "effeminate male homosexual" is attested by 1958.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for nance



: with his talk of nancy poets, his anti-intellectualism


  1. A male homosexual who takes the passive role (1904+)
  2. An effeminate man; lily: Where you need desperately a man of iron, you often get a nance (1883+)

[said to be fr the nickname of Miss Anna Oldfield, an actress who died in 1730 and was noted for her extreme vanity, fashionable dress, etc]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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