One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A woman in charge of a brothel.
- ‘Kathryn Hunter plays the bawd of the title as a butch, shaven-headed operator who deals in drugs as well as sex.’
- ‘From the Bible to bawds, Rembrandt's palette welcomed all women.’
- ‘Temperature was peaking at barely nine in the morning, and townspeople were shuffling their way down the streets, carriages and carts were getting impatient, and competitive bawds were stepping back into the shadows.’
- ‘At the very worst, real mothers suffer by analogy with bawds and pimps.’
- ‘Sheldon met her first bawd when a Mrs Horsham, a very respectable-looking woman, engaged her in polite conversation on a bench in St James's Park.’
Late Middle English: shortened from obsolete bawdstrot, from Old French baudestroyt ‘procuress’, from baude ‘shameless’.
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