squaw

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From the Massachusett word squàws (woman), from Proto-Algonquian *eθkwe·wa ((young) woman). Cognate with Abenaki -skwa (female, wife), Mohegan-Pequot sqá, Cree iskwew / ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ (woman), Ojibwe ikwe (woman). In the 1970s, some non-linguists began to claim that the word originally meant "vagina"; this has been discredited.[1]

Noun[edit]

squaw (plural squaws)

  1. (now offensive) A woman, wife; especially a Native American woman.

Usage notes[edit]

Previously used neutrally, the word began to be used as a term of contempt in the late 1800s; it is now often considered offensive.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ives Goddard, The True History of the Word Squaw, in Indian Country News (April 1997), page 17A

French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From English squaw

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

squaw f (plural squaws)

  1. squaw (not pejorative in French), Native American woman
    Ces chefs, au nombre d'une douzaine, n’avaient point amené leurs femmes, malheureuses « squaws » qui ne s’élèvent guère au-dessus de la condition d’esclaves. (Jules Verne, Le Pays des fourrures, 1873)

Synonyms[edit]