Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Wench (A)

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Wench (A)
is the Anglo-Saxon word wencle, a child. It is now chiefly used derogatorily, and the word wenching is quite offensive. In the Midland counties, when a peasant addresses his wife as “my wench,” he expresses endearment.   1
        Wench, like girl, was at one time applied to either sex. Chaucer has “yonge-girls” for youngsters of both sexes. We find the phrase “knave-girl” used for boys; and Isaac, in the Ormulum, is called a wench or wenchel. Similarly, “maid” is applied to both sexes, hence the compound mœden-fœmne, a female child or maiden.



Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.