- Literary a person, now esp. a woman, who keeps a brothel; madam
- Rare a prostitute
Origin of bawdMiddle English baude, lewd person ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Old French baud, merry, licentious (; from Frankish bald, bold) from source French baudet, donkey, also (in Picardy) loose woman
- A woman who keeps a brothel; a madam.
- A woman prostitute.
Origin of bawdMiddle English, probably from Old French baud, merry, licentious, from Old Saxon bald, bold, merry; see bhel-2 in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present bawds, present participle bawding, simple past and past participle bawded)
From Middle English bawde, baude, noun form of Old French baud (“bold, lively, jolly, gay”), from Old Low Frankish *bald (“bold, proud”), from Proto-Germanic *balþaz (“strong, bold”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰel-, *bʰlē- (“to inflate, swell”). Cognate with Old High German bald (“bold, bright”), Old English beald (“bold, brave, confident, strong”). More at bold.