Definition of bawd in US English:



  • A woman in charge of a brothel.

    • ‘From the Bible to bawds, Rembrandt's palette welcomed all women.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Kathryn Hunter plays the bawd of the title as a butch, shaven-headed operator who deals in drugs as well as sex.’


Late Middle English: shortened from obsolete bawdstrot, from Old French baudestroyt ‘procuress’, from baude ‘shameless’.