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Bawd – a zenword from Skid Row

by zenwords staff

vocabulary wordToday’s zenword comes from Skid Row. No doubt the lady described below had a heart of gold…

Bawd (bawd) n. A woman who keeps a brothel; a madam.

I took Roger to one of the better houses on Skid Row, explained his situation and swore the old bawd to secrecy.


Bawd rhymes with odd. It’s word history is uncertain, but it appears that bawd is derived from Middle English and Old French words meaning, “joyous, merry” and “gay, licentious.” Bawd began its use in the 15th century and originally meant any “lewd person”, but since the 17th century has applied only to women.


(photo by OtisArchives3)

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