A woman. The word's use was uncomplimentary, being later used of prostitutes. It shares its root with 'queen' but is a discrete word. [< OldEngl. cwene = a woman]

Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases. .

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  • Quean — Quean, n. [Originally, a woman, AS. cwene; akin to OS. quena, OHG. quena, Icel. kona, Goth qin?, and AS. cw[ e]n, also to Gr. ? woman, wife, Skr. gn[=a] goddess. Cf. {Queen}.] 1. A woman; a young or unmarried woman; a girl. [Obs. or Scot.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • quean — (n.) young, robust woman, O.E. cwene woman, also female serf, hussy, prostitute (Cf. portcwene public woman ), from P.Gmc. *kwenon (Cf. O.S. quan, O.H.G. quena, O.N. kona, Goth. qino wife, woman ); see QUEEN (Cf. queen …   Etymology dictionary

  • quean — [kwēn] n. [ME queyne < OE cwene, akin to cwen, QUEEN & Goth qino, woman < IE base * gwenā, woman > QUEEN, Sans ganā, goddess, Gr Gynē, woman] 1. Archaic a) a bold, brazen woman; hussy b) a prostitute …   English World dictionary

  • quean — North Country (Newcastle) Words a term of abuse to a female; but not always used in a reproachful sense: a sturdy quean , a good like quean …   English dialects glossary

  • quean — n British the earlier spelling of queen, meaning an effeminate homosexual. This spelling coexisted with queen until the early 1960s when it virtually disappeared. Quean was a descendant of Old and Mid dle English words related to (but not derived …   Contemporary slang

  • quean — cot·quean; quean; …   English syllables

  • quean — noun Etymology: Middle English quene, from Old English cwene; akin to Old English cwēn woman, queen Date: before 12th century 1. a disreputable woman; specifically prostitute 2. chiefly Scottish woman; especially one that is young or unmarried …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • quean — queanish, adj. queanlike, adj. /kween/, n. 1. an overly forward, impudent woman; shrew; hussy. 2. a prostitute. 3. Brit. Dial. a girl or young woman, esp. a robust one. [bef. 1000; ME quene, OE cwene; c. MD quene, kone, OS, OHG quena, Goth qino …   Universalium

  • quean — noun /kwiːn/ An impudent woman; a prostitute …   Wiktionary

  • quean — see GYNAECOLOGY …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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