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wench

[wench] /wɛntʃ/
noun
1.
a country lass or working girl:
The milkmaid was a healthy wench.
2.
Usually Facetious. a girl or young woman.
3.
Archaic. a strumpet.
verb (used without object)
4.
to associate, especially habitually, with promiscuous women.
Origin of wench
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English, back formation from wenchel, Old English wencel child, akin to wancol tottering, said of a child learning to walk; akin to German wankeln to totter
Related forms
wencher, noun
Can be confused
wench, winch.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for wench
Historical Examples
  • And there was the wench too—he had fairly forgotten her name.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Hero is a "wench o' the Bankside," and Leander swims across the Thames to her.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • The wench came up soon after, all aghast, with a Laud, Miss!

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • And so this wench is to stock the parish with beauties, I hope.

    Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 Henry Fielding
  • I am secure in one of the wench's qualities however—she is not to be corrupted.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • A wench, man, and as tight a little craft as ever sailed into the port of wedlock.'

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • He has the smooth cheeks o' a wench, an' limbs like Goliath o' Gath.

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The wench cannot know that I am ruined or her heart would speedily be restored.

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • There's enough plunder in the town to tempt the lads, and there's the wench for you.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • Lucagnolo had drought some wench whom he believed to be Madonna Paola.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for wench

wench

/wɛntʃ/
noun
1.
a girl or young woman, esp a buxom or lively one: now used facetiously
2.
(archaic) a female servant
3.
(archaic) a prostitute
verb (intransitive)
4.
(archaic) to frequent the company of prostitutes
Derived Forms
wencher, noun
Word Origin
Old English wencel child, from wancol weak; related to Old High German wanchal, wankōn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for wench
n.

late 13c., wenche "girl or young woman," shortened from wenchel "child" (12c.), from Old English wencel, probably related to wancol "unsteady, fickle, weak," and cognate with Old Norse vakr "child, weak person," Old High German wanchal "fickle." The word degenerated through being used in reference to servant girls, and by mid-14c. was being used in a sense of "woman of loose morals, mistress."

The wenche is nat dead, but slepith. [Wyclif, Matt. ix:24, c.1380]

v.

"to associate with common women," 1590s, from wench (n.). Related: Wenched; wenching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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13
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