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[wench] /wɛntʃ/
a country lass or working girl:
The milkmaid was a healthy wench.
Usually Facetious. a girl or young woman.
Archaic. a strumpet.
verb (used without object)
to associate, especially habitually, with promiscuous women.
Origin of wench
1250-1300; Middle English, back formation from wenchel, Old English wencel child, akin to wancol tottering, said of a child learning to walk; akin to German wankeln to totter
Related forms
wencher, noun
Can be confused
wench, winch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for wench
  • Try to stop me, you young wench.
  • Turned out she was a serving wench at a Renaissance festival.
  • She's still a cold, heartless wench.
  • Temperance was a delicate wench.
  • Communications between drill operator and wench operator.
  • If it is too heavy you may need to involve lifting equipment, such as a hoist and wench.
  • We used a wench on the swamp buggy to lift hogs onto the back to transport.
  • Pushed the button on the electric wench and it would not work.
British Dictionary definitions for wench


a girl or young woman, esp a buxom or lively one: now used facetiously
(archaic) a female servant
(archaic) a prostitute
verb (intransitive)
(archaic) to frequent the company of prostitutes
Derived Forms
wencher, noun
Word Origin
Old English wencel child, from wancol weak; related to Old High German wanchal, wankōn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for wench

late 13c., wenche "girl or young woman," shortened from wenchel "child" (12c.), from Old English wencel, probably related to wancol "unsteady, fickle, weak," and cognate with Old Norse vakr "child, weak person," Old High German wanchal "fickle." The word degenerated through being used in reference to servant girls, and by mid-14c. was being used in a sense of "woman of loose morals, mistress."

The wenche is nat dead, but slepith. [Wyclif, Matt. ix:24, c.1380]


"to associate with common women," 1590s, from wench (n.). Related: Wenched; wenching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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