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Letter by Lady Jane Grey addressed by "Jane the Quene" dated 1553


quene (plural quenes)

  1. Obsolete spelling of queen


Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English cwēn (woman, wife, queen) (the final schwa is by analogy with other Old English feminine nouns, such as Etymology 2), from Proto-West Germanic *kwāni, from Proto-Germanic *kwēniz, from a derivative of *gʷḗn (woman, wife). Cognates include:

Alternative forms[edit]



quene (plural quenes or (early) quene)

  1. A queen (female monarch; queen regnant)
  2. A queen (consort to a king or similar ruler; queen consort)
  3. Any powerful woman noble (e.g. a former queen consort, a duchess, etc.)
  4. A female divine or holy figure; a female divinity or the Virgin Mary.
  5. A female embodiment, exemplar, or representation of a moral ideal.
  6. (familiar) An affectionate or loving way to refer to a woman one loves.
  7. (rare) A female follower of Christianity in heaven.
  8. (rare, Late Middle English) The queen (chess piece introduced towards the end of the ME era)
  • English: queen (see there for further descendants)
  • Scots: queen, wheen
  • Yola: queen

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English cwene (woman, wife, prostitute), from Proto-West Germanic *kwenā, from Proto-Germanic *kwenǭ, from the same Indo-European source as above. Cognate to Gothic 𐌵𐌹𐌽𐍉 (qinō), Middle High German kone, kan, kun, quëne, Old Norse kona, and Middle Low German quene.

Alternative forms[edit]


  • IPA(key): /ˈkwɛːn(ə)/, /ˈkwæːn(ə)/


quene (plural quenes or (early) quenen)

  1. A woman, especially one of low birth.
  2. A female prostitute or sex worker.
  3. An elderly woman.