[Ads-l] wench

David Barnhart dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Tue Mar 29 17:26:56 UTC 2016


The usage of _negro wench_ reported in eOED surprised me in light of the
wealth of examples in the other definitions.  There are 4 quotations for
_negro wench_ (3 of which are in 19th century dictionaries).
Def. 1a of wench (14 quotes)
Def. 1b of wench (5 quotes)
Def. 1c of wench (6 quotes)
Def. 2 of wench (13 quotes)
Def. 3 of wench (14 quotes)

Had the editors of the eOED reviewed just dictionaries (DAE, DA, and F&H,
etc.), they would have seen earlier 18th c. and later examples 20th c.
evidence.

One cannot ever completely cover the evidence available in a dictionary.
So, this report (above) is reasonable--just incomplete.  I'm waiting
anxiously await the "update" forthcoming from eOED people.

On Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 12:32 PM, Joel Berson <berson at att.net> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Joel Berson <berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: wench
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Advertisements using "wench" to refer to a Negro (a black or colored,
> inclu=
> ding Native American) female can be found in early 18th century American
> ne=
> wspapers, perhaps as far back as 1704, the first year of the earliest
> newsp=
> aper in British North America.=C2=A0 (At the moment I could only quote
> from=
>  1739.)
>
> I now notice that the quotations I have always use "Negro wench" in
> combina=
> tion.=C2=A0 That makes me wonder when "wench" alone began to denote a
> Negro=
> .
>
>
> Joel
>
>       From: David Barnhart <dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM>
>  To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU=20
>  Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 8:00 AM
>  Subject: [ADS-L] wench
>   =20
> My son, Grant, found in his work for the Dutchess County Historical
> Society, the following advertisement from 1809:
>
> FOR SALE--A healthy
> Negro Wench,
> About 21 years of age, will suit in or country, can spin, and do any kind
> of house work.
>
> *Poughkeepsie Barameter*
> [Poughkeepsie, N.Y.], March 8, 1809.
>
>
> Compare eOED:
>
>  *b.* *U.S.* (See quots.)
> 1765=C2=A0 *Boston Gaz.* 17 June=C2=A0 'Tis said the Fire was occasioned
> by=
>  a Negro
> Wench carrying a Quantity of Ashes.
> 1828=C2=A0 Webster *Amer. Dict. Eng. Lang.*=C2=A0 *Wench*,..3. In America,
> =
> a black
> or colored female servant; a negress.
> 1848=C2=A0 J. R. Bartlett *Dict. Americanisms*
> 1891=C2=A0 *Cent. Dict.*=C2=A0 *Wench*. 3 (*c*) A colored woman of any
> age;=
>  a
> negress or mulattress, especially one in service. (Colloq.)
>
>
>
>
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