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Probably from Middle Dutch heyden (heathen, gypsy), heidin (Modern Dutch heiden).



hoyden (plural hoydens)

  1. (archaic) A rude, uncultured or rowdy girl or woman.
    • 1857, Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers: In Three Volumes, London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts, OCLC 911659634; republished [London]: D. Campbell Publishers, 1992 (Everyman's Library; 57), ISBN 978-1-85715-057-5, volume II, page 147:
      She is a hoyden, one will say. At any rate she is not a lady, another will exclaim. I have suspected her all through, a third will declare; she has no idea of the dignity of a matron; or of the peculiar propriety which her position demands.
    • 1897, Henry James, What Maisie Knew:
      her ladyship burst suddenly into the schoolroom to introduce Mr. Perriam, who, as she announced from the doorway to Maisie, wouldn't believe his ears that one had a great hoyden of a daughter.
    • 1936, Margaret Mitchell, "Gone with the Wind":
      It was the same conflicting emotion that made her desire to appear a delicate and high-bred lady with boys and to be, as well, a hoyden who was not above a few kisses.
    • 1985, John Fowles, A Maggot:
      Not all ladies in my profession are as that shameless hoyden, Mrs Charke, that has brought such distress through her malicious conduct and ill repute upon her worthy father, Mr Cibber; far from it, sir.
    • 1997, Andrew Miller, Ingenious Pain:
      Tabitha is lighting the candles in the sconces. A great, strong, heavy girl, a hoyden, not pretty, her face distinguished only by youth, by health.


hoyden (comparative more hoyden, superlative most hoyden)

  1. Like a hoyden: high-spirited and boisterous; saucy, tomboyish.
    • 1796, Mary Wollstonecraft, Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, letter 22
      Many of the country girls I met appeared to me pretty – that is, to have fine complexions, sparkling eyes, and a kind of arch, hoyden playfulness which distinguishes the village coquette.
    • 1809, Washington Irwing, Knickerbocker's History of New York, chapter 3
      At these primitive tea parties the utmost propriety and dignity of deportment prevailed. No flirting nor coquetting – no gambling of old ladies, nor hoyden chattering and romping of young ones []


hoyden (third-person singular simple present hoydens, present participle hoydening, simple past and past participle hoydened)

  1. (intransitive) To behave in a hoydenish manner.