- a country lass or working girl: The milkmaid was a healthy wench.
- Usually Facetious. a girl or young woman.
- Archaic. a strumpet.
- to associate, especially habitually, with promiscuous women.
Origin of wench
Examples from the Web for wench
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
The wench came up soon after, all aghast, with a Laud, Miss!Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
And so this wench is to stock the parish with beauties, I hope.Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2
I am secure in one of the wench's qualities however—she is not to be corrupted.Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)
- a girl or young woman, esp a buxom or lively one: now used facetiously
- archaic a female servant
- archaic a prostitute
- archaic to frequent the company of prostitutes
Word Origin and History for wench
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]
"to associate with common women," 1590s, from wench (n.). Related: Wenched; wenching.