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wench

[wench]
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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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to associate, especially habitually, with promiscuous women.
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Origin of wench

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 formswench·er, noun
Can be confusedwench winch
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

lassstrumpetmaidenhussyservantdamseltrampwantonJezebelwhoreprostitutebimbodoxy

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 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.

  • I am secure in one of the wench's qualities however—she is not to be corrupted.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson


British Dictionary definitions for wench

wench

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
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verb (intr)
  1. archaic to frequent the company of prostitutes
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Derived Formswencher, 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

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]
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v.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper