American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A woman regarded as being disreputable, especially a prostitute.
- n. Scots A young woman.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A woman; a female person, considered without regard to qualities or position: hence generally in a slighting use. It may be merely neutral or familiar, like
wench(as, a sturdy quean, a thriving quean), or be used in various degrees of depreciation (= jade, slut, harlot, strumpet). [Eng. and Scotch.]
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. Obs. or Scot. A woman; a young or unmarried woman; a girl.
- n. A low woman; a wench; a slut.
- From Middle English quene ("young, robust woman"), from Old English cwene ("woman, female serf"), from Proto-Germanic *kwenōn (“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. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English quene, from Old English cwene, woman; see gwen- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“According to the Miriam Webster dictionary, quean (pronounced kwen) is from the Old English cwene meaning woman or queen.”
“A woman with a shape and face like Lakshmibai's hadn't let it go to waste in four years 'widowhood (after being married to some prancing old quean, too), not with the stallions of her palace guard available at the crook of her little finger.”
“And I have seen the life of Colin Ironfist well epitomized in a smaller compass than is here employed to show this quean well spanked.”
“I must get rid of this quean as fast as I can; and I must see her safe.”
““You may give quarters to such cattle if you like it yourself, Harry Wynd; but the same house shall not quarter that trumpery quean and me, and of that you may assure yourself.””
“He began, however, with considerable austerity of manner. — “And how now, saucy quean!” said the medical man of office; “what have you to say why I should not order you to be ducked in the loch, for lifting your hand to the man in my presence?””
““Bloodshed and murder!” exclaimed the Lady, “what does the quean mean? — if you speak not plain out, you shall have something you will scarce be thankful for.””
““And I promise you,” said the laundress, “my young master will stick nothing to call an honest woman slut and quean, if there be but a speck of soot upon his band-collar.””
““Did I know Kate Happer?” replied the widow; “as well as the beggar knows his dish — a canty quean was Kate, and a special cummer of my ain maybe twenty years syne.””
“Ye maun leave this quean — the like of her is ower light company for you.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘quean’.
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