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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Quene, Quein, n.2 Also: qwen(e, queyne, qweyne, queen, quean(e; quan. [ME and e.m.E. quene, cwene (1205), queyne (Piers Plowman), queane (16th c.), queen (1670), OE cwene wk. fem. (cf. Quene n.1). See also Quine n.1] A quean.

1. A young woman; a wench, a lass.Appar. with connotation of low social standing or mild disparagement. c1420 Wynt. v 4042.
The doytyd qwennys [W. formyt fyllokis] … And damysellys yhong and awenand
c1475 Wall. iv 782.
A stalwart queyne, forsuth, ȝon semys to be
1511–12 Treas. Acc. IV 329.
To the quene of the Blakfurd quhilk brocht foure fatt caponis to the king
1536 Lynd. Answ. Flyting 53.
Ȝe caist ane quene ouerthort ane stinking troch
1574 St. A. Kirk S. 405.
[He] said to Elspet his dochtir … ‘Quein! quhat auchtis to thé?’
1619 Brechin Kirk S. 10 Aug.
And namelie lounes and queynes wha usis commonlie to run out off the kirk … befoir the hour
1686 Cramond Ch. Grange 51.
She called her and her sister two pardoner scold queans

2. A woman of bad character; a hussy; a harlot or strumpet.Also as the second element of a compound in lowen-queen, id., s.v. Loun n. 2: cf. Quine n.1 2.For further examples, see Culroun n., Cummer v. 3 b, Jad n. 2, Lousie adj. b, etc.(a) c1420 Wynt. v 1693.
A woman … of pollute fame … Quhen this qwene [C. qweyne, W. wif, L. woman] had carpyt thus
Ib. 4772.
Till ane emprys, … A wykkyd qwene [C., W. woman] off fellowne fame
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 146.
Thow and thy quene as gredy gleddis ȝe gang
1584-9 Maxwall Commonpl. Bk. fol. 2a.
Ȝe tyne ȝowr sell … with quenes to mell
(b) c1420 Wynt. v 1693 (C) (see (a) above).
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xxxiv 64.
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 161.
A quein and a can best for a waistour
(c) 1581-1623 James VI Poems I 27/143.
Vnles more malapairt Then Lais common quean
1653 Strathbogie Presb. 231 (see Land-lopper n.).
(d) c1679 Kirkton Hist. 184.
Deprehended in stairs and back rooms with base queens
(e) 1680 Buchan Cl. I 106.
Speaking very opprobrious language to her … by calling her a quan and a jad in God's temple
comb. 1650 Buccleuch Mun. II 359 (see Loun n. 2).

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"Quene n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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