Middle English Dictionary Entry
|Forms||wench(e n. Also weinche; pl. wenches, (N) whenches & (?error) wengis.|
|Etymology||Shortened form of wenchel n.|
Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)
- c1300 SLeg.Kath.(Hrl 2277)77 : Nou is þis…gret schame…An emperour to siche aboute so wide in eche londe After maistres to plaidi aʒen a ʒung wenche [Ld: a fol wenche].
- a1325(c1280) SLeg.Pass.(Pep 2344)1961 : Men…vp hare ale-benche…Þanne is hare iangle & hare game to deme som sely wenche.
- c1330(?a1300) Arth.& M.(Auch)830 : Sche…ran to hir in gret rage Wiþ herlotes þat wiþ hir ware And sore bete þat wenche þare.
- (c1390) Chaucer CT.Rv.(Manly-Rickert)A.3973 : A doghter hadde they…This wenche thikke and wel ygrowen was.
- (a1398) *Trev.Barth.(Add 27944)69b/b : A Maiden childe & a wenche hatte puella.
- c1400(c1378) PPl.B (LdMisc 581)18.113 : Out of þe west coste a wenche [C: weynche], as me thouʒte, Cam walkynge in þe wey to-helle-ward she loked; Mercy hiʒt þat mayde.
- ?a1425 *Chauliac(1) (NY 12)142b/b : That pappes forsoþ growe not to mych in ʒonge wenchez [Ch.(2): maydenes; L iuuenculis] be þai not touched ne froted but be þai holden wele streite.
- c1450(?a1400) Wars Alex.(Ashm 44)1558 : All þe cite in sorte felowis him eftir…Maistirs, marchands, & Maire, mynistris & othire, Worthi wedous & wenchis [Dub: whenches] & wyues of þe cite.
- c1450 Burg.Practica (Rwl D.251)259/2 : For to know wethyr a woman be with chyld, a boye or a wenche.
- c1475 Wisd.(Folg V.a.354)815 : Met and drynke and ease, I aske no mare, Ande a praty wenche, to se here bare; I reke but lytyll be sche mayde or wyffe.
- a1500(?a1390) Mirk Fest.(GoughETop 4)201/4 : Then cryed þe fende and sayde: ‘Alas…such a ʒeong wench hath ouercomen me.’
- a1500 Add.37075 Gloss (Add 37075)57/291a : Infantula, puerula, puella: a wenche.
- (a1387) Trev.Higd.(StJ-C H.1)4.169 : Þe wif ordeyneþ venym for Metridas…But he was i-warned by a wenche [Higd.(2): maide; L ancillam] þat served his wyf.
- (c1390) Chaucer CT.Mil.(Manly-Rickert)A.3631 : Er that he had maad al this array, He sente his knaue and eek his wenche [vr. wenches] also Vpon his nede to Londoun for to go.
- c1400(a1376) PPl.A(1) (Trin-C R.3.14)5.199 : Wiþ al þe wo of þe world his wyf & his wenche Bere hym to his bed & brouʒte hym þerinne.
- (1440) PParv.(Hrl 221)521 : Wenche: Assecla, abra, ancilla, numphula.
- c1450(c1400) Vices & V.(2) (Hnt HM 147)65/15 : Grucchyng aʒens man…is schewed and vsed in many wises, as in seruauntes aʒens here lordes, wenches aʒens here ladies, children aʒens fadre and modre, and pore aʒens riche.
- c1475(?c1400) Wycl.Apol.(Dub 245)74 : God bad bi Sara, Kast out þe wench and her son.
- c1330 Why werre (Auch)69/75 : He prikeþ out of toune wid haukes and wid houndes Into a straunge contre, and halt a wenche in cracche.
- (c1375) Chaucer CT.Mk.(Manly-Rickert)B.3417 : Thow drank eek of his vessels boldely; Thy wyf eke and thy wenches synfully Dronke of the same vessels.
- (c1384) WBible(1) (Dc 369(2))Amos 2.7 : The sone and his fadir wente to a wenche, that thei defouliden myn holy name.
- (c1390) Chaucer CT.Mcp.(Manly-Rickert)H.220 : If it so be they werke bothe amys…the gentile in estat aboue…shal be cleped his lady as in loue, And for that oother is a poure womman, She shal be cleped his wenche or his lemman.
- (a1393) Gower CA (Frf 3)2.3096 : Senec witnesseth openly How that Envie proprely Is of the Court the comun wenche.
- (c1395) Chaucer CT.Mch.(Manly-Rickert)E.2202 : I am a gentil womman and no wenche.
- c1400(c1378) PPl.B (LdMisc 581)19.433 : Pieres þe plowman peyneth hym to tulye As wel for a wastour & wenches of þe stuwes As for hym-self & his seruauntz.
- a1450 St.Editha (Fst B.3)3360 : Kyng Edgarus douʒter yche wene he was, Y-kete bot vpon a wenche; How shulde he euer haue suche a grase?
- c1450 Ponthus (Dgb 185)128/14 : He thret hir sore and swore that he shuld take hir by force & make hir his wench, if she wold not take with to be his wyfe.
- c1475(?c1400) Wycl.Apol.(Dub 245)23 : Ruben þat filid his fadir bedde, and Zabloun þe last son of Lia, and þe sonis of þe wengis were sette in þe hille of Hebal to curse hem þat were worþi curse.
- a1425 KAlex.(LinI 150)5087-9 : None no may vp ryʒt stonde, Ac þey creopeþ on fot and honde, Also bestis siker þey buþ, And wanne þe wenche [Ld: walkne] þat þey seoþ, Þey turneoþ þeo wombe vpryʒtis And so þey haueþ of þe wenche [Ld: walkne] siʒht.