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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Wench, n. Also: wenche, wensch(e, vench(e, wence, winsch, wynch, vinche. [ME and e.m.E. wenche (c1290), wench (1362), shortened f. OE and early ME wencel.] A girl, a young woman. In later use, chiefly applied to a woman of lax moral values or a servant girl.(a) 1375 Barb. x 559.
I … lovyt a wench [C. vench] her in the toun
?1438 Alex. ii 3938.
He … in amouris heir-in is laucht With ane wenche that is weill taucht [F. pucele plaisant courtoise et ensengnie]
?1438 Alex. ii 10993.
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 820.
This burges had ane dochter to him deir Ane bonie wenche sho was withouttin weir
a1500 Peblis to Play 205.
All the wenschis te he thai playit
1513 Doug. i vi 20.
The stowt wench [Ruddim. wensche]
1531 Bell. Boece I xii.
This othir wenche, that clepit is Delite, Involvis man, be sensuall appetite, In every kind of vice and miserie
a1538 Abell 75b.
The wence Ythalia to ring in Israel sche slew all the kingis barnis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8141.
That ȝoung wenche … Quhilk is bour mayd vnto ȝour awin empres
1583 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I 82 n. 2.
A wensche, being but ix or x yeres old
1603 James VI in Ellis Orig. Lett. III 80.
I ame also glaide of the discoverie of yone litle counterfitte wenche
1611-57 Mure Sonn. x 12.
Quhose … tounge vntrou'd Hath oft intrappit many a wanton wench
1659 Sharpe Witchcraft 226.
The city was so full of a whole cloyster of nuns and some laick wenches
(b) a1568 Sempill in Sat. P. xlvii 82.
Quhat cummer castis the formest stane, lat see, At tha peure winschis ȝe wranguslie suspect For sklenting bowttis
a1568 Scott iv 25.
Lycht wynchis luve will fawin Evin lyk ane spanȝeollis lawchter
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. in Cath. Tr. (STS) 84/15.
Thir Caluinian ministers … granting to euerie kirk man his pretty vinche with quhome sindrie tymes he can nocht be slakit
c1590 J. Stewart 227 § 110.
The litill vinche lycht fickilnes did fyk

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"Wench n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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