Origin of bawd
Examples from the Web for bawd
If I go out into the street and strike down a bawd—a thing lower than the lowest animal and more noxious—I hang.The Orchard of Tears|Sax Rohmer
See if the air of this place has not inclined Secret to be a bawd already!A Select Collection of Old English Plays|Robert Dodsley
Hastily throwing a robe around her person she sought the room of the yarité—the bawd of the house.The Yotsuya Kwaidan or O'Iwa Inari|James S. De Benneville
The heroine is Celestina, a bawd who helped them out of their troubles.Folkways|William Graham Sumner
The bawd (yarité), aroused and passing, saw the shadow of the raised dagger.Bakemono Yashiki (The Haunted House)|James S. De Benneville
British Dictionary definitions for bawd
Word Origin for bawd
Word Origin and History for bawd
a complicated word of uncertain history. First attested late 15c., "lewd person" (of either sex; since c.1700 applied only to women), probably from baude-strote "procurer of prostitutes" (mid-14c.), which may be from Middle English bawde (adj.) "merry, joyous," from Old French baud "gay, licentious" (from Frankish bald "bold" or some such Germanic source). It would not be the first time a word meaning "joyous" had taken on a sexual sense. The sense evolution shading from "bold" to "lewd" is not difficult; cf. Old French baudise "ardor, joy, elation, act of boldness, presumption;" baudie "elation, high spirits," fole baudie "bawdry, shamelessness." The Old French word also is the source of French baudet "donkey," in Picardy dialect "loose woman."
The second element in baude-strote would be trot "one who runs errands," or Germanic *strutt (see strut). But OED doubts all this. There was an Old French baudestrote, baudetrot of the same meaning (13c.), and this may be the direct source of Middle English baude-strote. The obsolete word bronstrops "procuress," frequently found in Middleton's comedies, probably is an alteration of baude-strote.