Today's Word "Quean"

Bold or impudent woman on

Published in Vocabulary

quean \kween\ (noun) - A bold, impudent, or ill-behaved woman, even a hussy or a strumpet.

"Jean is a keen dean at school but a mean quean on the neighborhood scene."


Today's word originated as Old English cwene [kwene] when "queen" was "cwen" [kweyn]. Both are akin to Dutch kween "barren cow" and Swedish kvinna "woman." All these words originated in the Proto-Indo-European root *gwen-, which also produced Greek gyne "woman," found today in English "gynecology" and "misogynist." In Russian and other Slavic languages it became "zhena" and in Persian, "zan." The Irish descendant of the same root was bean "woman" which, when combined with the word for fairy, "sidhe," becomes bean sidhe "woman of the fairies" or "banshee," the female spirit whose wailing presages death in Irish folklore.



blog comments powered by Disqus

Social Connections


Pearls Before Swine Barney & Clyde Fort Knox Andy Capp Kirk Walters Bizarro