A woman who keeps a brothel; a madam.
A woman prostitute.
(literary) A person, now esp. a woman, who keeps a brothel; madam.
(rare) A prostitute.
Origin of bawd
- Middle English probably from Old French baud merry, licentious from Old Saxon bald bold, merry bhel-2 in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- 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.