Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Wench (A)

 Welsh’er.Wer’ner, 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
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.
 


 Welsh’er.Wer’ner, 

 
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