Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Offensive A Native American woman, especially a wife.
  • n. Offensive Slang A woman or wife.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A woman, wife; especially a Native American woman.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A female; a woman, especially a married woman; a wife; -- in the language of Indian tribes of the Algonquin family, correlative of sannup.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A female American Indian; an American Indian woman.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an American Indian woman

Etymologies

Massachusett squa, younger woman.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the Massachusett word squàws (“woman”). Cognate with Ojibwe ikwe ("woman"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Mountain Phil and his Klooch -- that being the name he called his squaw, which is also the Arapahoe name for wife -- were staying alone about ten miles further down the country from where we were located.

    Thirty-One Years on the Plains and in the Mountains, Or, the Last Voice from the Plains

  • Jennine Jacob, a fashion blogger of Native American descent, who was upset by the use of the word "squaw."

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • Ives Goddard, now senior linguist emeritus at the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology, has always disputed Harjo's translation, saying the word "squaw" derives "from an innocent term for woman."

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • I understand your and others' concern about the use of the word "squaw."

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • One wrote, "The word 'squaw' is racist, offensive, and insulting on so many levels that I can't believe anyone in the 21st century would use it...."

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • From the midst of the crowd, thrust out by its own vividness, appeared the face of a wild-eyed squaw from the remote regions of the Upper Tana-naw; a strayed Sitkan from the coast stood side by side with a Stick from Lake Le Barge, and, beyond, a half-dozen French-Canadian voyageurs, grouped by themselves.

    The Wit of Porportuk

  • If my great brother, who has told us not to scalp this bee-hunter and her he calls his squaw, will tell us the name of his tribe, I shall be glad.

    Oak Openings

  • Mountain Phil and his Klooch ” that being the name he called his squaw, which is also the Arapahoe name for wife ” were staying alone about ten miles further down the country from where we were located.

    Thirty-One Years on the Plains and In the Mountains

  • He also explains the political and sexual controversy behind the much-abused word "squaw" -- which is a lot more complicated than you might think.

    Boing Boing

  • Every single day I was called a squaw or any other derogatory comment you can think of associated with being percieved as a North American Indian.

    LIVE Blog: Chat with us during the show

Comments

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  • This reminds me of a joke my grandmother told me many, many moons ago (seriously). The punch line was: "No. Squaw bury shortcake."

    August 17, 2010

  • Maybe just an oversite.

    August 17, 2010

  • I have tried to play the word squaw several times in Scrabble on Pogo the officially liscensed Scrabble sight and it is not accepted. Does anyone know why?

    August 16, 2010

  • Squaw-berries?! Are they what squid eat when they go to watch Wimbledon?

    December 13, 2008

  • Historical; used to describe an American Indian woman but like other such terms from the past, it's considered offensive today. Also used as a prefix for a number of plants/animals, e.g. squaw-berry, oldsquaw (former name for a type of duck), squaw-fish.

    August 27, 2008