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See more synonyms for quean on Thesaurus.com
  1. an overly forward, impudent woman; shrew; hussy.
  2. a prostitute.
  3. British Dialect. a girl or young woman, especially a robust one.
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Origin of quean

before 1000; Middle English quene, Old English cwene; cognate with Middle Dutch quene, kone, Old Saxon, Old High German quena, Gothic qino < Germanic *kwenōn-; akin to Old English cwēn woman, queen
Related formsquean·ish, adjectivequean·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for quean

tramp, whore, floozy, Jezebel, jade, slattern, minx, hussy, wench, hooker, harlot, bimbo, malkin, quean

Examples from the Web for quean

Historical Examples of quean

  • Ye maun leave this quean—the like of her is ower light company for you.

    Red Gauntlet

    Sir Walter Scott

  • I must get rid of this quean as fast as I can; and I must see her safe.

    The Fair Maid of Perth

    Sir Walter Scott

  • There is many a quean in it, fairer than I twice told, and not spoiled with weeping.

  • There is many a quean in it fairer than I twice told, and not spoiled with weeping.

  • You come hither to steal my glasses, and then counterfeit you are going to your quean's.

British Dictionary definitions for quean


  1. archaic
    1. a boisterous, impudent, or disreputable woman
    2. a prostitute; whore
  2. Scot a young unmarried woman or girl
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Word Origin for quean

Old English cwene; related to Old Saxon, Old High German quena, Gothic qino, Old Norse kona, Greek gunē woman. Compare queen
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

Word Origin and History for quean


"young, robust woman," Old English cwene "woman," also "female serf, hussy, prostitute" (cf. portcwene "public woman"), from Proto-Germanic *kwenon (cf. Old Saxon quan, Old High German quena, Old Norse kona, Gothic qino "wife, woman"); see queen. Popular 16c.-17c. in sense "hussy." Sense of "effeminate homosexual" is recorded from 1935, especially in Australian slang.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper