Word Origin & History
O.E. dell (perhaps lost and then borrowed in M.E. from cognate M.Du./M.L.G. delle), from P.Gmc. *daljo, related to dale. Uncertain relationship to dell, rogue's cant 16c.-17c. for "a young girl of the vagrant class." "A Dell is a yonge wenche, able for generation, and not yet knowen or broken by the
vpright man. ... [W]hen they have beene lyen with all by the vpright man then they be Doxes, and no Dells" [Thomas Harman, "A Caveat or Warning for Common Cursitors," 1567].