quean

Definition

Slang

  • noun the earlier spelling of queen, meaning an effeminate homosexual. This spelling coexisted with queen until the early 1960s when it virtually disappeared. Quean was a descendant of Old and Middle English words related to (but not derived from) ‘queen’, stemming ultimately from an Indo-European ancestor, gwena, meaning woman. Over 1,000 years the senses of quean shifted from ‘woman’ to ‘wanton’, before being transferred to a male context.
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