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.
verb (used without object)
  1. to associate, especially habitually, with promiscuous women.

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


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

Word Origin for wench

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]
v.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper