quean

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English quene (young, robust woman), from Old English cwene (woman, female serf), from Proto-Germanic *kwenǭ (woman), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷḗn (woman). Cognate with Dutch kween (a barren woman, a barren cow), Low German quene (barren cow, heifer), German dialectal Kan, Chan (woman, wife), Swedish kvinna (woman), Icelandic kona (woman), Gothic 𐌵𐌹𐌽𐍉 (qino, female, woman), 𐌵𐌴𐌽𐍃 (qens, wife). More at queen.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

quean (plural queans)

  1. A woman, now especially an impudent or disreputable woman; a prostitute. [from 10th c.]
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, III.2.1.ii:
      Rahab, that harlot, began to be a professed quean at ten years of age […].
  2. (Scotland) A young woman, a girl; a daughter. [from 15th c.]
    • 1932, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song, Polygon 2006 (A Scots Quair), p. 30:
      Forbye the two queans there was the son, John Gordon, as coarse a devil as you'd meet, he'd already had two-three queans in trouble and him but barely eighteen years old.

Derived terms[edit]


Scots[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old English cwene.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): [kwin], [kwen], [kwəin]

Noun[edit]

quean (plural queans)

  1. young woman, girl