[Ads-l] wench

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Thu Mar 31 18:09:30 UTC 2016

Something that appears to have overlooked in this thread:  in the 17th century both Africans and Native Americans were used as household servants.  The blacks were usually slaves (slavery was practiced in all 13 Colonies until circa 1780).  I do not know if Native Americans could also be slaves (can anyone enlighten me?)  

If in the 17th and 18th centuries in the Colonies the term "wench" generally meant "slave woman", it would still frequently be necessary to specify if a particular wench were African, Native American, or mixed-race.  

Off-topic: "wench", long archaic, is enjoying a micro-revival in George R. R. Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire series, set in a universe quite similar to our Middle Ages, in which "Wench" is Jaime Lannister's disparaging term of address to Brienne of Tarth.

- Jim Landau

Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list