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Quean

Definition: a young, robust woman, a prostitute.

Pronunciation: kween

Origin

This interesting noun stems from the Old English cwene meaning woman; portcwene represented a public woman.

You can easily see (and hear) the resemblance between quean to queen; if you come to think about, both are public women, succumbing to different sorts of publicity…

Effeminate homosexuals, nowadays referred to as “queens”, actually began their way in 1935 Australian slang where they were referred to as queans; same phonology, different spelling, different senses.

How to use this word?

Next time you come across a prostitute, refer to her as a quean; the word’s pronunciation would surely create a misunderstanding and a good laugh!

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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for UnusedWords.com. Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.

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